Wendi Schneider is an American artist widely known for her ongoing series of hand gilded photographs – States of Grace. Drawn to the serenity and transcendence she finds in the sinuous elegance of organic forms, she creates illuminated impressions of vanishing beauty in the natural world. Layering color, texture, and gold leaf, Schneider’s process creates ephemeral illusions that seemingly dance on the paper’s surface amidst reflections of light on precious metals, creating a synthesis of technique and subject.
Born in Memphis, TN in 1955, Schneider grew up in a family of several generations of artists, later studying Art History and Painting at Stephens College and Newcomb College at Tulane University. Her interest in photography germinated in the early 1980s when using a camera to reference models for her oil paintings. Mesmerized by the possibilities of the photographic art form and the alchemy of the darkroom, yet missing the sensuousness of oils, Schneider began to layer oils on her photographs to manipulate the boundaries between the real and the imagined. This process laid the groundwork for the unique layering and gilding that later became the foundation of States of Grace.
After recreating the 1901 Picayune’s Creole Cook Book for The Times-Picayune newspaper, Schneider moved from New Orleans to New York City in 1988. She then began a diverse career that included fine art commissions, photography for magazines, book covers, and advertising, and later (after a move to Denver in 1994) a return to design and art direction. In 2012, she began producing a collection of photographs featuring flora and fauna – the States of Grace series, which would become her signature body of work.
Schneider’s photographs are held in the permanent collections of The New Orleans Museum of Art, The Center for Creative Photography, The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, The Auburn University Library Special Collections, and The Try-Me Collection, as well as numerous private collections. Her work has been published and exhibited extensively worldwide. Schneider is represented by A Gallery for Fine Photography (New Orleans), Arnika Dawkins Gallery (Atlanta), Catherine Couturier Gallery (Houston), Etherton Gallery (Tucson), PhotoGraphic Gallery (San Miguel de Allende), Rick Wester Fine Art (New York), and Vision Gallery (Jerusalem).
Schneider is a collector of art and objects from the turn of the 20th century – primarily Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and photographs. She has juried numerous exhibitions and sits on the board of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center.