Mad Hatters' Review Issue 10, Fall 2008

The Surreal Art of Sandra Scheetz WiseThe Surreal Art of Sandra Scheetz Wise
Reviewed by Cheryl Townsend


To the SkiesComplexibly fun. In two words, there you have it. But why stop there? These paintings realize nature, they present blank scenarios with human disdain. The recurring chess board in many of Wise’s images almost implies how we look at our destruction as trifling… a game. As if sustenance is irrelevant. Like Moonscapes, they evoke a mystique of the unknown. Chairs evolve into ladders in “To The Skies,” take us almost there. But where?

Holding it Together“Holding It Together” is a red string across an abyss, hands protrude like gophers from ashy ground, thumbs wrapped loosely with the string, as if apathetic. An extra hand, just behind, turned away and bent downward. The chasm remains and I visualize the thumbs twiddling or playing Jacob’s Ladder when I look away. A Lah-De-Dah look at just how far we’ve moved from caring.

Tea for Who“Tea For Who” felt whimsy, bringing both Seuss’s Horton & Hodgkin’s tea party to mind when a blue elephant teapot stretches its trunk over to sip from a full tea cup, its floppy ears almost atwitter in delight. The brick wall behind the grassy setting could easily be holding Humpty Dumpty in a childlike scene of vivid colors and mindsets.

Eve's Garden“Eve’s Garden” is so “DaVinci Code” with its voluptuous feminine trunk, a chalice? Blooming knowledge in a vast and barren landscape. Two figures sit near the tree, both facing away…unwilling to accept, maybe ashamed. They have pillaged the garden (as we have still) and ravaged the soils. Yet she ekes new life from her limbs, albeit scantily. She proves life to fertilize and replenish, as the sun either rises or sets, enhancing or depriving their decisions. They are naked, as with a change of season, though leaves of shielding are within their reach, should they only choose to know it. In almost darkness, they cower in their own doubting.

Garden of Eves“Garden Of Eves” is a coven of women, procured from the very soil that nurtures the roots of spreading wisdom. They circle the tree of knowledge. A fertility dance, a May Pole. They hold apples high above their heads, as if offerings. A homage. Gratitude. In the tree’s branches rests the serpent, the temptation, as snakes still are, to bring us down and slithering, coiling, and receiving delightful sins.

Urban Trees“Urban Trees” makes an honest statement about the rapid decline of nature to the perilous advances of man-mades. Road signs stand in a stark landscape. A crossroad of depletion. Stop and Yield face the viewer as talismans…dowagers…obviously sans any Keep Off The Grass signs. We are our own history, and I’m wishing for a better epithet.

Unconditional Love“Unconditional Love” has a vase of cut flowers with the blooms snipped and lying at the base, leaving only the stems and sparse leaves upright. The good with the bad. The “For better or for worse” scenario of lost beauty, fallen like breasts in time. Losing luster and essence, but leaving a firm foundation, a testament of where that loveliness flourished.

The repetition of eyes in her flowers, as if telling us nature is watching & she’s getting royally pissed. Stop the madness. She sees our destruction, yet prevails. Ominous. Eradicate the cause and survive within her own means.

Sandra Scheetz Wise
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last update: October 14, 2008