Contour + Color

326 Gallery is pleased to present Contour + Color,  an exhibition featuring the photography of Klaus Schnitzer and the paintings of Mason Speier.


In the 1980s Klaus Schnitzer began a lifelong affair with still objects - including the Ellis Island Series - creating close-ups of mysterious and abandoned pieces. His photography captures the contours of his subjects in stunning detail, with his choice of lighting and printing technique displaying a full range of tones along an object's surface. Klaus Schnitzer’s most recent artifact series, Science, combines conceptual intelligence with accessibility and aesthetic pleasure.

Klaus Schnitzer is drawn to the quiet beauty of abandoned objects and presents them - out of context and disembodied against a black backdrop - as mysterious monuments. The lack of context and the intimate examination produces a sense of scale that is in outsize proportion to the size of the original objects. The selected ‘monuments’ are all scientific instruments that were relegated to the storage closets of Montclair State University’s departments of physics and mathematics. Klaus Schnitzer, the head of MSU’s photography program, discovered them during a foray into experimental science imagery. Even the scientists could no longer identify the original purpose of some of these gadgets. They are testament to impressive scientific advances and the fast pace of development that left them behind. However, by becoming obsolete, the objects gained artifact status and intrigue.


Mason Speier began spray painting three years ago, while studying economics at Beloit College. As painting began to consume more and more of his free time, he felt compelled to make up for his lack of formal art classes by using 4x4” canvas panels to develop his skills, with the goal of applying what he learned on larger works later on. The small size of the panels allowed him to experiment freely with his medium without spending too much time on one idea. At its core, the project relies on the scientific method to develop a hypothesis on how a particular effect is created, and slowly refine that technique through trial and error.


Mason Speier’s paintings are made outdoors, with direct exposure to the elements. The sunlight, wind, temperature, and humidity all affect how the paints react with each other, giving each painting session a unique signature. The paintings he’s chosen to display are some of his favorite of the  4x4” paintings, arranged to accentuate each other by highlighting their differences in color, style, and structure, as well as a few larger pieces that embody some of the directions he plans on taking his craft in the coming year.