On George Schneeman

by Peter Schjeldahl

The art, craft, and design of George Schneeman are all of a piece, as if these disciplines had never been opposed, hierarchicalized, and otherwise split off from the flow of life.

The light, slightly roughed-up sensuousness of his approach to everything and the homey frugality of his means have a common sense so uncommon it’s exotic.

His work is good in the sense of good quality and also in the sense of goodness, a humanly right relation of parts to wholes—from the way a nail goes in or a plate is fired or paint gets stroked to the way a whole life is inhabited, as an Italian peasant or other type of natural aristocrat would understand.

It’s about pleasure as a habit, modesty as toughness, beauty as sanity, and a serene confounding of love and work. I have Schneeman pictures, ceramics, and furniture in my apartment; they make it a better and somehow a truer place as if to say, “Stop you worrying and go make us some coffee.”

Whatever he touches emits, ever after, a quiet surprise.