Liesl Schubel: Käthe

July 10th – September 6th, 2019

Opening reception Wednesday, July 10, 6-8pm 

Cumulative | Ancestral | Relative | Synergy | Orbit | Cycle | Moon | Pull | Stretch | Sag |                              Sink | Void | Gravity | Grieve | Transcend | Translate | Combine 

Liesl Schubel presents a series of investigations into the structures of grief, physics of emotional and energetic loss, and the collective imaginings and memorialization of a loved one through object and image collection and creation. Drawing ties between heritage on a familial scale and the passing downs of energy on a cosmic timeline, the pieces in this exhibition are representative of grappling with both grief and gravity, crossing in and out of the personal and universal. 

Generate | Generational

        Relativity | Relative

                Gravity | Grave

                        Physics | Physical

                                Spin | Spinal

                                        Close | Closure

                                                Cyclical | Closure

                                                        Ancient | Ancestral

                                                               Cumulative | Communal

                                                                       Moon | Mother

Käthe Schubel passed away on January 15th, 2019 at the age of 92.

Often stemming from an autobiographical moment, Liesl's sculpture, drawing, and collage aims to connect personal, emotional content to a collective experience. Her most current work translates personal grief into a larger conversation about emotional literacy, familial legacy, portraiture, and natural phenomena. Whether referencing a relative since passed, or a retreating glacial vista, each piece is deliberately imbued with an intimate sense of remembrance. In considering this practice, three key words continually rise to the surface: materiality, intimacy, and gravity. 

Liesl's work is built upon emotional gesture, strengthened by the varied nature of her chosen mediums. Working primarily with glass, embroidery, prints and carefully selected mixed-media, she culls a tender language of connection between the inherent, outward qualities of each material and what they represent both personally and culturally. 

She has always been drawn to glass, her queerness finding a kinship with its more unusual and dualistic properties. It is hard and soft, transparent and distorting, liquid but not really. A natural shapeshifter. It’s unique molecular structure is complex and fluctuating, and the range of viscosity from molten to solid allows for constant aesthetic and conceptual discoveries. 

Drawing, collage, and embroidery each offer opportunity for exploration, research, and storytelling. In works on paper, Liesl merges timelines, scales, and perspectives, creating new narratives and possibilities with a focus on nature and phenomena. Through embroidery specifically, she engages with the long tradition of creating imagery on cloth: a historical, feminine lineage speaking the language of family through the centuries.

About the artist

Liesl Schubel was born in Ontario, Canada in 1990. She moved twice while she was young: first to British countryside, then American. Life in England brought Liesl close to her mother’s upbringing, as Canada had done for her father’s. The memories and landscape of these homes hold deep, sustaining importance in Liesl’s life and practice. As a queer woman, an artist, and a city dweller from rural roots, the complexity of home and of familial histories, relationships, and disputes remain a constant source of inspiration in her practice.

Liesl is trained as a glassblower, having worked with glass for over ten years. She is drawn to the fluidity and sensitivity of the material, and pairs glass with other media, such as textiles and found objects, to form new tactile narratives. Liesl is a founding member of the art collective Flock the Optic, a group formed to explore the meeting place of glass, performance, installation, entertainment, and happening. Their work focuses on cyclical experience, audience interaction, and creating works with abundant creative energy. 

Liesl received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012, majoring in Glass. She has since continued traveling, pursuing opportunities to expand her understanding of art and craft at institutions such as WheatonArts and Cultural Center in Millville, NJ, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, ME, the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA, Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA, Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, MI, and is a 2019 Studio Resident at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, NY. Liesl currently lives in New York City with her partner, maintaining a varied art practice, working with arts and education nonprofits, and operating as a freelance maker.

Liesl Schubel's Käthe, is presented through UrbanGlass’ Window Gallery / Community Activation Project, an open call for emerging artists to present exhibitions, performances and other community-engagement programs in our ground-level Rockwell Street windows. This exhibition is a part of the 2019-20 series curated by Yael Ebon of Tiger Strikes Asteroid Gallery.

Public programs at UrbanGlass are generously supported by the Agnes Varis Trust, the Metropolitan Contemporary Glass Group, the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, the Robert Lehman Foundation, the Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, the William Talbott Hillman Foundation, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Foundation, and many individual donors.   

Event Images
Event Schedule
July 10th – September 6th, 2019
Agnes Varis Art Center
647 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11217