at MADI Museum through January 8
by Todd Camplin
MADI Museum has a retrospective of Martin Schreiber, but you will get much more than just Schreiber’s
work, you will get to know a neglected part of Modernist history that deserves to have its day in the
sun. Dallas artist Ricardo Paniagua says, "Martin Schreiber, to me represents one of the most prominent
facets on the brilliant cut diamond that symbolically represents hard-edged painters." Directly or
indirectly, Schreiber’s hard-edge paintings are a great influence to so many artists working in
the style today.
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|Martin Schreiber was born in Berlin in 1924. He was a student of the very thick and expressionistic
landscape painter Reuben Tam at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. Schreiber's hard –edge
paintings were not a product of Tam’s influence, but rather from his experience as a diamond
cutter and his career as a commercial artist. I don’t see Schreiber's work as less expressive
than his teacher in color and movement of line, but his hard-edge whimsical approach is
more in line with the MADI movement.
|Schreiber is very adept at painting electrifying colors that seem to vibrate or shoot out like a
bolt of energy. The geometric forms move across the canvas with incredible speed and
crispness. The colors he uses are not serious, but light and cheerful. Schreiber’s wall
constructions look as if they are made by a high quality outdoor sign shop that specializes
in high modern design. Even with my limited experience in a sign shop, it is hard not to
see the high quality craftsmanship and activated design work Schreiber achieves in his
|I think Schreiber’s work has a real machine produced feel that comes out of the Bauhaus School
in Germany and was carried through graphic design. Just in how the shapes and lines are
distributed in Schreiber’s compositions, I also see some Russian Constructivist influence in the
Some of his works remind me of movie theater architectural designs of the mid 20th century.
Like the theaters, the images use a centralized theme that is inviting, gives a sense of grandeur
while enticing you to take a closer look.
|Untitled, Martin Schreiber - Acrylic on Canvas and Wood
45 x 45 x 18” - 1969 // Photo: Rebecah Beauchamp
|Untitled - 1973
|The MADI Museum will have Martin Schreiber’s retrospective up until January 8th, so you have a little
more time to see these geometric gems. If you have any appreciation for hard-edge paintings, you
really need to see how Schreiber makes extremely subtle changes of light in his painted bands of color.
|Untitled #57, Martin Schreiber
Acrylic on Canvas
42 x 40”