By Jim Servin
The dreamy cerulean hues of Bastienne Schmidt’s Blue Horizon Grid 2018 are interrupted by thin white lines dissecting the visual plane, invoking themes of freedom, structure, calm and chaos. Schmidt, a resident of Bridgehampton since 2001, has long associated the skyline with narrative. “Like the horizon,” she says, “the story always continues.”
Schmidt’s odyssey began in Munich, Germany, where she was born and lived for nine years until her family moved to Greece. The Mediterranean introduced her to a gorgeous palette of blues. “Blue is a very soothing color,” she says. “It has a calming nature, a vibrancy. It’s a color that has religious significance. It fascinates me.” Following college in Italy, and a move to New York City—her photographs have been acquired by MoMA, ICP, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris—in 2001, Schmidt settled in Bridgehampton, where she now lives with her husband, photographer Philippe Cheng, and their two sons, and gets her daily doses of blue.
Created two years ago as part of a series, Blue Horizon Grid 2018 caught the eye of HIFF executive director Anne Chaisson, who emailed Schmidt two months ago asking if the painting could represent the festival in 2020. “Many people don’t realize how intertwined we are as an art community,” Schmidt says of the Hamptons’ creative culture. Reflecting on why the painting works so well now, Schmidt offers, “We are in uncharted waters. Yet, even in difficult times, there are up moments.” Case in point: Blue Horizon Grid 2018 just sold to collectors who granted permission for its use in HIFF 2020. “They’re in LA,” says Schmidt of the buyers. “LA is a film city, so they’re thrilled.”