From Library Journal
The first extensive monograph on this photorealist painter, this book offers an absorbing retrospective portrait of one of the masters of postmodern simulacra. Riley (art, CUNY) provides an insightful biographical narrative, including details about Schonzeit's family and a life-changing incident that fundamentally influenced the painter's perception of the world: the loss of his left eye in a childhood accident. The book is divided into chapters that detail major turning points in Schonzeit's career. A particularly enlightening segment devoted to Photorealism delves into the movement's critical definition, first offered by critic Gregory Battock in 1975. Riley reappraises the creative climate of each decade of Schonzeit's activity and locates his work within it. Valuable commentary from the artist himself about the significance of his formative experiences, iconography, and technique appear throughout the text. The full-color sampling of Schonzeit's work is sumptuous, sometimes nearly palpable. The book ends with a detailed biographical chronology and an extensive list of the artists' exhibitions and collections in which his work is held. Recommended for collections focusing on modern and contemporary art. Savannah Schroll, Smithsonian Institution Libs., Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Schonzeit was a child artistic prodigy, who at six amused himself and onlookers by making 30-foot contour sand drawings at the beach. Later, photography became a passion, and he learned to compose with the camera, projecting the photos on gigantic canvases. Such 1970s photorealist paintings as a six-by-six-foot representation of red bell peppers faithfully render both the photographic image's sharp focal area and the fuzzier areas in front of and behind the focal point. Before, and long after, such works, Schonzeit's paintings bespeak the interest in space and juxtaposition he acquired from a passion for cubism. These works suggest that great cubist innovation, collage. Less assemblage-like is a long series of floral still lifes--understandably his most popular paintings--foregrounding a sharply drawn subject against an arresting backdrop, such as peonies before a Degas painting. Schonzeit's recent works return to collage, still with rigorously realist contents, which now occupy an imaginary space that demands composition on the canvas. Beautifully reproduced herein, they are puzzlingly ravishing. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved