Hailing from Essen, Germany, husband and wife team Christian Schellewald and Katrin Assman blend their fond appreciation for Southern California life with love of European culture. The result is a show replete with drawing, painting, and collage that defines a sense of what it means to be truly multi-cultural.
Christian Schellewald’s work, recently published by a book “LA<>SF”, (Design Studio Press, 2006) gives a wonderful documentation of everyday scenes as seen through his keen artistic eye. Reminiscent of archeological drawings and architectural sketches, Schellewald’s images are atmospheric and instinctive in their portrayal of American cities. Using the same viewpoint a photographer may employ with a wide-angle lens, his paintings cannot be categorized as either land or city scape for they show the importance of seeing both. Pedestrians, streets, wires, automotives, sky, nature. We are able to understand the play between our built and natural environment. As an art director for films including “The Road to El Dorado” and “Over the Hedge,” he gave us glee-ful fantasy, yet here, in his debut show for Los Angeles, we feel he has opened up his personal travel notes for our study.
Working alongside Schellewald, Katrin Assman fuses painted memories of their shared Germany with new abstracts of life in Los Angeles. Using canvases painted while in Berlin as background, the collages convey a holistic understanding of lives and places as they are melded together in one image. The collaborative process they employ strengthens this notion of wholeness. In many instances, Assman’s paint provides the environment to Schellewald’s drawn structure. In simpler terms, we may say she designs the garden, he, the house. Put together, the feeling is calm, serene and secure.
Through viewing this exhibition, our understanding of the world as many cultures with strict borders is slowly eradicated. Christian and Katrin, knowingly or not, prove that true collaborative process goes beyond being a “husband and wife team," and in the end gives us a looser, worldly view of human experience. If teamwork is the function of the artistic endeavor, what naturally follows is an integrated form, simultaneously conscious and spontaneous.
Katrin worked for many years as a daily illustrator for the German edition of the Financial Times. She moved from Berlin to Los Angeles in 2005. Christian came to the United States from Germany thirteen years ago to work in animation for Amblimation and currently is employed as an art director for Dreamworks.