I don’t participate in March Madness brackets and I don’t make election predictions, but here’s a bet I’d make: If you see a painting of a marmot around town, there’s a pretty good chance the artist is Henry Schreiber.
But first, a few words about marmots. Most of us call the furry creatures in Schreiber’s works “groundhogs.” Groundhogs are a subgenus of the genus Marmota. Groundhogs are also called woodchucks, and, sometimes, whistlepigs, but only by close friends. Schreiber refers to his subjects as marmots because they’re not true depictions of actual real-life groundhogs.
“I took the liberty to change a lot about them. I don’t think there are many animals that look like my marmots that exist in reality.”
So I’ll call them marmots too. But sometimes I’ll call them groundhogs.
How it all started
After receiving his MFA from the University of Central Florida, Schreiber moved to a family farm in Ashe County, where he set up a studio and spent a lot of time on the front porch, spotting groundhogs. After two years “learning the ways of the groundhogs” he moved to Charlotte. And that’s when things got interesting.
He applied his talents and considerable creativity to placing his reimagined marmots in unlikely situations. Each marmot is unique, with its own personality and characteristics.
“It’s less the groundhogs that have sustained my interest, and more the many different expressions that I can give them. It’s a fun game to take something so simple and try to make every one of them unique.”
Marmot the Barbarian (A marmot adaptation of Frank Frazetta’s Conan.)
Marmots and the Dragon (an adaptation of Rebuens’ “St. George and the Dragon”)
Marma Lisa (you know who this is, right?)
Where you might have seen Schreiber’s marmots
If you’ve been in Neighborhood Theatre lately and you’ve got a keen eye for observing wildlife you might have noticed a seven-and-a-half-foot tall hipster groundhog holding a Pabst Blue Ribbon. If you somehow missed it, here are some pictures of the mural, from the beginning to the end of the creation process.
Milkdrive, an Austin-based band that combines jazz, bluegrass and folk, commissioned Schreiber to paint four marmots for the cover of its album Waves. I’m partial to the one on the far right wielding the two mandolins as weapons.
You’ll also have a chance to see some of Schreiber’s non-groundhog work in Charlotte. In May he’s participating in an exhibit at Twenty-Two, called “No really…it’s not you, it’s me.”
“The next show is an open group show at Twenty-Two, featuring self portraits. I really dig that they encourage all local artists, regardless of clout or career level, to participate.”
If any local artists are interested in participating they should contact Nick Bloomberg at GalleryTwentyTwoArt@gmail.com for more information.
He’s currently working on a big project that will also be shown at Twenty-Two, in September.
“It’s a series of four large surreal landscapes that tell a fictionalized allegorical autobiography as a re-envisioning of Thomas Cole’s masterpiece ‘The Voyage of Life’. “