Forms Wresting with Existence

Lola Montes Schnabel

When Lola lands in St Barths it’s as if a meteorite hits the island. Having painted on the island since her teens, Lola finds magic in the eroded chipped trellises and dormers from Flamand’s little supermarket – or fabric from Old Alma, with cut-out shapes of shooting stars, unicorns and tear drops. In this series, her imagination soars like the wind on the sea into an amphitheatre of rocks with forms wresting in bright tropical colours. Painted on Italian diploma paper with vellum and gold leaf, this is Lola’s personal coat of arms where abstract symbols transform the autonomy of a page into sea monsters and erotic figures, reflecting her uninhibited nature. The paintings allow an exit out of reality, enhanced by the savage parts of this wonderland.

Born in 1981 in New York, Lola Montes Schnabel uses her multidisciplinary vision to transport the viewer into her universe with all its twists, turns and fantastical revelations. Educated at the Cooper Union School for the Advancement of Science and Art, Lola gained her BFA in 2008. But it was through her informal education with artists as varied as Rene Ricard, Luigi Ontani, McDermott & McGough and Vincent Gallo that the young artist truly came into her own. Honing talents as varied as the influences she worked under, Lola began experimenting in a vast range of media. From video to design and graphics to publishing, her work always contains a taste for the mystic established firmly in a distinctive personal style.

Lola shows a deep-rooted interest in light and colour visible through her paintings, sculptures, photographs and watercolours. Her work contains layers of luminosity peeking through the swirling forms of their subject matter. Complementary colours are often used subtly to overrule the sense of discordance that could come from the twisted forms, thereby creating a level of cosmic harmony whilst displaying her keen understanding of the inner workings of painting.

Lola’s creative output is impressive and she has also danced the line between individual and group collectives, exhibiting internationally and working in creative collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger, Zac Posen and Max Mara. It’s possible to imagine that innovation and fresh ideas might not continue to flourish for an artist as comprehensive and extensive as Lola Schnabel but nothing could be further from the truth. Inspiration is constantly drawn from the spiritual realm by using intermingling forms and patterns to address the legend of human expression. But why stop there, she asks, when there is so much more to explore? By delicately dissecting the heritage and mythology through her work Lola not only aims to depict but to create a new legend. A new mysticism that will reach the viewer on a personal level and endure beyond the constraints of the fleeting and the transitory…

“After a week you begin to match the place to settle into your unconscious. Dreams intertwine with daily life. The drawings are proof of the knots I’m unravelling, perceptions and notes on insights that would only drift into my mind in this specific place. I made a recipe for a medium which I carried in a honey jar, that way the oil paint can dry in the humidity.”
— Lola Montes Schnabel