When Jim Schmidt closed the doors of his Grand Center gallery earlier this year, it marked the end of an era. For decades Schmidt had provided St. Louisans access to the work of local, national and international artists of every medium, with a scrupulous eye for elegant minimalism and obsessional craft. Considered in retrospect, the exhibits illustrate Schmidt's singular way of seeing: an abstract vision with formalist leanings, but one that always defers to nature as an endless source of generative wonder. An East St. Louis native, Schmidt is an artist and curator in his own right; this past year he assembled an affecting homage to the late Teddy Trova, which featured needlepoints Schmidt crafted over several decades. His curatorial hand was also evident in a recent exhibition at Philip Slein Gallery — a sign, perhaps, that we haven't seen the last of Schimdt's contributions to the local arts landsape.
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