Artist spotlight: Cora Schroeder

Schroeder’s “Fear of Man Creates Monster” from her most recent show (Jen Cox)

Cora Schroeder is a senior art student with an eye for the sociopolitical
issues of our age. Here’s some input from a Lawrence artist seeking to make sense of the tragic icons that flood our world and swarm our senses.
How long have you been creating art?
My whole life. My parents encouraged my artistic skills since I was 7, particularly
in drawing. My parents have always encouraged me to follow my dreams even though futures in the arts are a bit risky. I was trying portraiture
in middle school, but didn’t find myself or develop these skills until college. I’ve always wanted to make art and always believed I could make a difference doing it.
What kind of work do you do?
I’m interested in social/political art. I’m a two-dimensional artist and my work right now is mostly collage on panel incorporating drawing and painting into a layering technique I’ve developed. The effect is the obscuring of some forms and the highlighting of others, thus alluding to dreams or memories. Employing both traditional and experimental media, Lazertran image transfer, heat set LithoCoal, and the layering
of materials both manmade and natural create a textural and rich surface.
Which artists do you consider to be particularly inspirational to you?
Kathe Kollwitz, Theresa Spadafora, and Anselm Kiefer, among others, have influenced my work. Like these artists I try to create art that conveys movement, urgency, and passion.
What do you hope to accomplish with your art?
My goal is to strike an emotive
chord with the viewer while referencing current social issues. Through images of soldiers weakened
and distraught, burning money, or a crumbling cityscape, I address the destructive psychological
impact violence and conflict have on people and culture. I create art with desire and passion in order to impact society.
Could you tell us a little bit about your show?
The exhibition is entitled “impressions …. reflections, an artist’s response” and includes approximately 25 pieces from this body of work I have been making these past two-and-a-half years at Lawrence. This work was initially a means to cope with my eldest brother’s involvement in the Iraqi conflict; he’s an E7 staff sergeant in the Army. After he came home I continued to work with the subject
matter because the work was really taking on a life of its own.
The show opened on the 18th and will run through March. The Veterans Art Gallery (located at 103 W. College Ave., next to Starbucks) is sponsoring the exhibition. This gallery is a not-for-profit organization
whose mission is to “pay tribute to the men and women in the uniformed services from the Revolutionary War up until the present
through visual educational art.” I feel very grateful to the gallery’s board for giving me this opportunity,
as well as to the Appleton Ben Franklin Frame Shop for helping me frame the work.
Do you have any future plans, either near or distant, for your art?
I will start pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Painting degree within the next year and will continue to make and show art as much as possible.
I feel this exhibition has given me some closure with this work so I am currently starting a new body of work for the Senior Show. The subject matter is the relationship of technology and our postmodern society. I’m trying to exemplify the fast-paced, highly technical undercurrent
in today’s society which we are all saturated with. I’m very excited about this new work.

(Jen Cox)

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