Grown up close to the city of Idar-Oberstein in the southwestern part of Germany, which has greatly been attached to gem industry for centuries, Gerhard Schmidt learnt the profession of a gem carver and engraver from 1967 to 1971. To escape the threat of being paralyzed by only applying traditional techniques, he decided to break away from his forefathers' ironbound tradition, to venture a new beginning and to create his own work.
His objets d'art and sculptures made of hard, tough agate are unrivalled. Regardless of their sizes - whether they measure only a few or up to thirty centimeters in diameter - his bas-reliefs, mostly framed by an extremely thin line, cut into only 1-2 millimetres thin layers, which again are up to thirteenfold graded towards the background, mediate delicacy and great intuition. Thus each piece of art is unique in its design and perfection.
Making an object of art always is a creative process for Gerhard Schmidt that has its beginning in a cursory, jotted-down sketch which then gradually develops to an elaborated graphic reproduction. In the course of its translation into the reality of the stone this graphic reproduction is not to be realized by all means but is rather a graphically formulated perception that continually adds new ideas to the creative process going on for weeks or even months.
Each of his works bespeaks great imagination, a sure sense of rhythmic compositions, accentuations and contrasts. Not only his skill but his vigorous creativity, which already commences when sensing the shape in the rough stone, make him create his objects of art.
The carved, predominantly two-layer agates, mostly being objective, figurative, are a new kind of miniatures in the varied interplay of tinges of light and dark, depending on the material, of flat areas and extremely delicate details, they are aesthetical compositions penetrating the agate in steps, they are works of art that come to life in the beholder's hand.
The stone sculptures' motifs range from depictions of flora and fauna to portraits of persons of contemporary history and modern-elegant and romantic-playful female figures to mythological themes. Starting with his works on Greek mythology the occupation with religious themes and motifs runs like a red thread through Schmidt's whole work. It is not surprising at all that, after his profound studies of the world of forms of Japanese Buddhism during his long-term stay in Japan from 1981-1990, the artist now turns again to the roots of western culture.
© Gerhard Schmidt 2008