Selected Works

Stephen Schubert has studied everything from garden design to Judo. As a young man, he became the lead sparring partner for the West Point Judo team, and found himself studying many of the principles borne of Japanese culture. “Kohan ni Shitagau” is a basic principle in Japanese garden design which asks us to listen to the land to see what action to take. Schubert loved that, and it seemed natural to apply it to all areas of his life.

At age thirty-three, Schubert started painting. He literally woke up from a dream and pursued the creation of what he saw in that dream. The result was a fifteen-year run of 3-D birch wood wall sculptures, which were exhibited in over forty-five galleries nationwide. They all had windows and recreated European scenes of gathering places where life unfolded.

One of his greatest pleasures is cooking. He read a book on neuro gastronomy and realized certain pairings work because their molecular structures are similar, and so started playing with that idea. He began to combine elements such as sea salt and olive oil into his paintings. Salt, mixed with pigment and water creates crystallized patterns in paint, which become very interesting to the eye. Cooking, like painting, is a matter of blending the right combinations of things together. Good creative acts are an amalgamation of the right combination of things in relation to each other; whether it’s a great sauce or a painting, his approach is the same.

Another influence on him has been the cinematic arts. He loves film and has been fortunate to attend many film festivals around the world. There, he gest as much stimulation and inspiration from watching what unfolds on the screen as he does from the cities, towns and people. He believe this enlarges his heart…and then gets an opportunity to share and build worthy connections with others. He believes this is where we can “find” ourselves. This is what he likes to explore in his work.

Schubert primarily works on birch panels. They remind him of a stage, which is where he started his first career as an actor. After prepping the front and back of a framed birch panel, he has a semi-circle of gallon paints opened at the ready. Kitchen tools, foam, rags, boards and anything from Home Depot can make interesting painting mates, although primarily, he uses a spackle knife. Dragging, spraying, dripping, smearing and scraping are all part of the process. Varying amounts of pressure applied with his spackle knife enables him to apply some control over the haphazard nature of his approach.

He lays down up to 15 layers of paint and frequently finishes the piece with a resin topcoat. Alternating this application with paint, resin, paint, resin numerous times renders a startling effect in which the paint layers appear to “float” above the other layers. This causes light to be trapped between the layers, giving a sense of inner illumination.

Schubert often incorporates heavy texture, color fields, realism, words and iridescent mica flecked paints into his work. One color, shape or tone tells him what is needed next. The end result is a vibrant, colorful painting. He’s drawn to the abstract genre because viewing this type of work allows people to express themselves in very personal and often revealing ways. It helps open us up to each other.

“Science is discovering how abstracts positively impact the brain. Synapses are strengthened when we view them. I believe that am I healing as I go, too.” ~ Stephen Schubert