Support the Whitney
Become a founding member today.Join now
Aurel Schmidt’s intricately detailed drawings include objects and creatures such as flies, condoms, and cigarette butts that are pieced together to form larger figures. Master of the Universe: FlexMaster 3000 is a portrait of the Minotaur, the half-man, half-bull mythic creature who represents both creation and destruction. Through exquisite draftsmanship, Schmidt questions conventions of beauty and masculinity as well as standard associations with decomposition, rot, and refuse. She relates her interest in finding the beauty in ugliness to the idea of the human condition as a cyclical process of renewal and decay. By using the detritus of our lives as the building blocks for her subjects, Schmidt’s work becomes a sort of memento mori—a reminder of our own vulnerability and mortality.