Portrait of the Artist

Conny Goelz Schmitt

Book-ending Sculpture

By Noelani Kirschner | August 23, 2021
Twilight, 2021, vintage book parts, 40x54x6 inches.
Twilight, 2021, vintage book parts, 40x54x6 inches.

Mixed-media sculptor Conny Goelz Schmitt transforms vintage books into geometric, primary-colored wall objects. She first got the idea after coming across the saying, “Books are like time machines,” and incorporated the concept during a collage art class in Massachusetts. The two-dimensional collages she produced felt both nostalgic and reassuring. “The smell and the faded colors and textures I was able to find there,” she says, “was like a search for lost time.”

  • Hot Topic, 2020, vintage book parts, 18x22x6 inches.

Schmitt uses new book boards as the substrate and then glues on mousseline and elements of old books, selecting her materials based on their tactility, color, and character. “I love to hunt for my books,” she says, “and am interested in unusual ‘expired’ colors, flowery endpapers, and the treasures I find in the spines of the books.”

One such piece is Schmitt’s 2020 wall object Hot Topic, the concept for which grew out of the chaos of 2020. Unable to escape the endless cycle of bad news, Schmitt let the process of sorting through materials organically guide her artmaking and the result was a speech-bubble sculpture. “The goal here is to achieve a harmonious environment with an element of surprise,” she explains. “This could lead to a search not just for the maker, but for the viewer.”

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