Judith Schaechter at Claire Oliver


At the prison, Schaechter’s windows underscored the ecclesiastical undercurrents of this method of incarceration. Seen in photographs displayed at Claire Oliver Gallery, the stained-glass panes had been installed in the narrow slits running along the ceiling of each cell, where they bathed the dreary rooms in colored light. The cells came to look distinctly like monks’ chambers, drawing attention to the way in which the prisoner—like a member of an order—was expected to contemplate and atone, as if his crimes against society were sins. Light is the basic point of Schaechter’s windows: Passing through her multilayered stained glass, natural light becomes spiritual light—a saving grace. Some of the designs are ornamental patterns, with floral shapes; others show single figures, somber and saintly. Sky blue, at once regal and virginal—the color of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven—abounds

October 1, 2013