Michele Schuff + bio | statement | press


I am interested in the perception of time and how we measure life’s passing.  How long do I have to live? How has my timing influenced every turn of my life? Will I be able to do what I need to before I die?

The metronome, a tool traditionally used to set a fixed tempo while practicing music, is a metaphor for keeping time as well as a meditative device; with it one can set a beat or pulse that can become increasingly abstract and therefore has the potential to exist outside of our perception of linear time.  This body of work examines the space that is created when one is fully focused on any creative endeavor: where does that state of mind exist?  Time can be momentarily suspended in the gap between the beats; collectively these beats and gaps make up a body of work, a life, a collection of lives.

Like the earth spinning on its axis or the force of gravity, I imagine the existence of a universal pulsation or sound that the planet beats and breathes to, even while we are unaware of it.  If one is able to devote him or herself to finding this space through meditation or devotion to a creative work, perhaps that state which exists outside of time could be accessed in any single moment.

The metronome offers a symbolic pulse to work to, a reminder to move with evenness and precision.  Physically marking time either to endure something difficult (like scratching the days into a prison wall) or repeating the same mark over and over in an effort to stay alert becomes a kind of contemplative practice, much like repeating a mantra or saying the rosary.  Wax figures in relief serve the same purpose but assume a different physical form; measured changes in color reveal the pulse or sound of the work.