The Curator’s Eye

The Missing | Samantha Scherer, Artist
Selected by Sam Davidson, director, Davidson Galleries

floodplains (xvi), 2008, 4 x 6 inches, watercolor on paper

When I first saw Samantha Scherer’s work, I was struck by her ability to create convincing images with a minimum of means, and by her skill in allowing the viewer’s imagination to fill in the bulk of the image.

Much of her work uses the news and pop culture as source material. Her recent series floodplains is inspired by Hurricane Katrina and by devastating floods that occurred here in the Northwest. The first work I saw of hers was Fame, a series of celebrity portraits; another series depicted various victims from the opening scenes of Law & Order.

Though her work is largely figurative, one of her most effective series capitalizes on negative space: Mad, Hopeless and Possible. It traces the struggles of the 1914–16 Shackleton expedition, the crew of which was lost in the Antarctic wilderness and somehow survived.

You can see in the photographs taken during that expedition something that resonates with Samantha’s approach to making images. It’s a very difficult thing to imply a ground that isn’t really there. She proves very skillful in the way she uses the silhouette of the ship, the men or the dogs to tell you where the horizon is — where the sky eats the snow.

—Sam Davidson



Originally from: Columbia, Missouri
Subject matter:
Human interest amid natural disasters
“Watercolor and all manner of drawing”
Works best in:
Her basement studio
A cat, Louie
Next show:
A “ghost series” at Kirkland Arts Center
To see more:


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