On view through July 11, 2020
Uncannily prescient, LA-based Andrew Schoultz’s new exhibition of paintings and sculptural installations looks at mortality—personal, societal, cultural, environmental—with an eye to taking responsibility, and glimmerings of hope.
Schoultz’s stylized, symbolic lexicon includes archaic military machines, volcanic eruptions, Greek vases, mythical creatures and iconography from the Great Seal of the United States. Weaving them together with formal references to mid-20th-century Op Art, Schoultz depicts a complex and unstable world in which truth must be de-coded. We live, he says, in a dizzying time of environmental degradation poised at a tipping point of no return, endless wars fought in the name of religion inflicting suffering at massive scale, and income disparity empowering the demagogic at the expense of the democratic. Add a plague of biblical proportions and it’s no wonder we’re all reeling.
As important as the vocabulary of symbols that those familiar with Schoultz’s work will immediately recognize, is his use of the tools of classic Op Art to create visual effects like vibration or trembling. Such effects can literally induce physical sensations of disorientation in a viewer. For the artist, they function as a concrete representation that best describes the zeitgeist.
Central to what is likely his most ambitious gallery exhibition to date is an 11×34 foot painting he calls Cathedral. Three years in the making, it’s an epic cycle examining the history of the Western world—of greed, partisanship, war for profit, self-interest, and the failure of governments. This painting specifically, and the exhibition generally, is a wakeup call… a plea to examine how we treat each other and how we abuse our environment. It serves notice that we must take responsibility and make changes, or face the consequences.
Born in 1975 in Milwaukee, Schoultz was a professional skateboarder before moving to San Francisco in 1998. The vocabulary of his outdoor murals—wooden war horses, limb-less trees, tornadoes, beasts, clouds of smoke, and flying arrows—has become an important part of the urban fabric in California and around the world. His work has been extensively exhibited and acquired by important public and private collections internationally. He lives with his wife and son in Los Angeles.