For over 40 years William Schaaf, —a former Florida Fellowship recipient,— has explored the mysterious symbolism of equine imagery in his paintings and sculptures. For Schaaf the horse figure serves as an iconic metaphor for power, sensuality, transition and beauty.
The work is captivating in its energy, as well as its physicality, —and is oftentimes sensual and playful. It embodies contemporary expressions couched in the historical references of cave paintings from Dordogne, France, ancient Greek sculpture, T'ang Dynasty ceramics, and indeed each succeeding period of human history, a history interwoven with the equine and man.
Through the repeating creation of the figurative abstraction of the horse, Schaaf has delved into the mystery and beauty of natural forms, the archetypal elements of power, grace, community, gentleness, freedom. His sculptures are often votive in nature, or fetishes, —all inspired by, and echo, equine symbolism and art throughout ancient cultures.
William Schaaf was born in Richmond, Virginia, in l944 and has been focused on the symbolism communicated through sculpture of the equine for over 40 years.
He first earned his B.F.A. from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and a M.F.A. from the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, in Painting and Printmaking. He has dedicated himself to the process and business of art, both in painting and fine sculpture for a lifetime, and is renowned for an ancient, almost archeologic and stylized expression of the equine form. He uses art as healing agent with commonly diagnosed ADD, autistic, and exceptional young persons in teaching and workshop settings. And was an early consultant for the Arts In Medicine Program, Shands Hospital, Gainesville, FL which is a national model.
William has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, the MacDowell Colony at Peterborough, NH (2x), the Ossabaw Island Project in Savannah, GA, (also 2x), and the Virginia Center for the Arts. He has been awarded Individual Artist's Grants from the State of Florida two years. And was an "Alternate in Painting" for the American Academy in Rome and worked with Christo's Surrounded Island Project in Miami, FL. He has been invited to the Marino Marini Foundation in Pistoia, Italy, to 'further the patriarchy' of Marino Marini, one of Italy's national art treasures.
Schaaf has been professor, lecturer, workshop facilitator, and visiting artist at Southern Illinois University, Penn State University; York University, Toronto; Wayne State University, MI; Princeton University, NJ; The Universities of Illinois at Florida and Wisconsin; Santa Fe College, NM; and various private schools.
Exhibitions and Shows:
William Schaaf has exhibited in 100+ group shows, and almost 30 solo exhibitions in major galleries such as: Robert Friedus and Allan Stone galleries in New York, NY; Chiaroscuro Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; The Kentucky Derby Museum, Louisville, Kentucky; The Ringling School, Sarasota, Florida; The Tampa Museum of Art, FL; The Jacksonville Museum of Art; The Cummer Museum
of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville, FL; The Society of the Four Arts, Palm
Beach, FL; The Samuel P. Harn Museum, Gainesville, FL; The Gulf Coast Museum of Art, Largo, FL; The Orlando Museum of Art, FL; and J. Johnson Gallery, Jacksonville, FL.
Private, Corporate, and Museum collections:
The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art; The Jacksonville
Museum of Contemporary Art; The Deland Museum of Art; The
Hand Art Center, Deland; Vero Beach Museum of Art; The Orlando
Museum of Art; the Tampa Museum of Art; The Kentucky Derby Museum of Art; Convergys Corporation; Alabama Power Corporation; City of Orlando; General Telephone
and Electric, Tampa, FL; Bell South Corporation, Jacksonville; FSCJ Collection; Tupperware Corporation, Kissimmee; Berol Corporation; State of Florida, Tallahassee; Robert Rauschenberg Estate;
Jennifer Johnson Collection; Ed Harris Collection; Ken Rollins Collection; The Cofrin Collection.
Spur Magazine, The Equine Image, Sky Magazine (Delta Airlines), Sculpture Magazine, Horizon Magazine, Art In America, Notes to A Young Painter, a book by Hiram Williams, The Drawing Handbook: An Approach, a book by Stuart Purser.
He has been featured in videos for television (WUFT-TV, Gainesville), and was a guest speaker
for Voices in the Wind, National Public Radio, Washington, D.C.