Oliver Schemm is influenced by a wide variety of experiences and has imbued his sculpture with them. His mother was born and raised in Amsterdam, Holland and his father grew up in Great Falls, Montana. Oliver’s mother was a Montessori teacher and his father was a military doctor and they moved all over the East coast and Europe. At different times Oliver attended schools taught in French, Dutch, and English, and his early life was largely about adapting to new surroundings and cultures. Looking around closely at the art, history, literature and science of each particular place where he lived filled out Oliver’s understanding of what he was experiencing and led to his lifelong habit of synthesizing the information before him.
Oliver received his B.F.A. from the University of Montana and ten years later received his M.F.A. from Florida State University In between his degrees he worked in Washington D.C. as a theatre technician which cemented his fascination with the stage and the world behind the sets. He sees his art works as stage props and set pieces from another time whose meanings and functions are sometimes a mystery. Building and uniting materials is an essential part of his life, and while living in Southern Vermont, Oliver has renovated three houses. He has a need to bring disparate objects together and this relates to the sculptures he creates. Materials are important to Oliver, both for how he works with them alone and most importantly how he combines their qualities into a new being.
Being the father of three children has enriched his view of the world. Teaching his children has had a profound effect on his life and he uses this inspiration when he teaches studio art at Castleton College. He combines all his disciplines in his work, for he feels that the Unity of Knowledge or as Howard Wilson calls it, “Consilience” is the future of humanity.