Editor's note: The following essay was published on October 14, 2013 in Resource Library with permission of the author and the Monterey Museum of Art. The Monterey Museum of Art provided other source material published with the essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the essay or other source material, please contact the Monterey Museum of Art directly through either this phone number or web address:
In Process: Andrew Schoultz
by Karen Crews Hendon
Andrew Schoultz (b. 1975) is a San Francisco-based artist who creates monumental public wall murals, paintings, sculptures, and multi-dimensional installations. He gained notoriety for his street murals in collaboration with other artists such as Aaron Noble in San Francisco's Mission district during the late-1990s. Moving to San Francisco from Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the dot-com boom, Schoultz created large-scale public works that addressed both global socio-economic crisis and the struggles and cultural displacement of inner-city neighborhoods.
His installation at the Monterey Museum of Art is part of a contemporary exhibition series called In Process, which began at the Museum in 2009. The program gives artists the freedom to experiment, providing them with a gallery space to try out new ideas and techniques. With the opportunity to produce new and exciting work on a large scale, the In Process series often produces dynamic ephemeral, site-specific installations. This installation by Andrew Schoultz is a visual voyage through an energetic atmosphere, lush with layers of meticulous renderings and dualistic themes that resonate with cataclysmic force.
His furious and fantastical imagery is deeply rooted in American historical symbols and contemporary metaphors that create a vortex of political and environmental commentary. Inspired by 14th century German mapmaking and Persian miniatures, Schoultz juxtaposes references to these two time periods with highly stylized graffiti and street art concepts. The intricately illustrated medieval atlases intrigue Schoultz because they were painted by skilled artisans, and depicted political boundaries, charted trade routes, and battlefields. The densely detailed patterns of Persian miniatures, originally created for the elite court, were largely made by self-taught artists and incorporated calligraphy, poetry, and history. Schoultz is drawn to the subject matter found in these early art forms as he finds the struggles fought hundreds of years ago still relevant with those fought today.
Andrew Schoultz's abstract narratives are an accumulation of development over the past ten years. Layers of drawing, collage, and painting are incorporated with found objects, defined characters, and appropriated images. These components come together loosely on a series of canvases that can be arranged as one large masterwork, or reconstructed as several separate panels to be merged within his wall murals, adding three-dimensional effects. The idea of separation and reintegration seen in his line work, color, and iconography add a fundamental reminder that each element is interactive and responds to one another. His work is a dramatic example that progressive evolution can be attainable with symbiotic solutions or violently regressive due to unnatural and invasive dominance.
Concepts of war, imperialism, and consumerism which bare affects of deforestation and climate change are tempestuous undercurrents that permeate his work. Yet, the metaphors take shape through whimsical forms and subliminal visages that prompt open-ended interpretations. The iconic symbols in his work include armored warhorses, a dualistic emblem of unbridled strength domesticated for combat; detached pyramids with all-seeing eyes allude to the elite structures which favor few, yet are built on many; slave ships caught in chaotic waters elicit victimization; severed trees with defoliating leaves embody environmental distress; and deteriorating bricks harkens back to greater disasters of crumbling infrastructures or impending ruin. A reoccurring theme is the gaping hole seen in his paintings and gold leaf wall structures that insinuate an economic blowout, conjuring a falsehood that currency is still stabilized by the integrity of gold. However, not all is lost. Look closer and see between the lines that nature has her own retribution. While Schoultz's narratives of mankind spiral into each other, praying shaman figures are the bastions of nature as she sprouts back to life for reconciliation. Whether fantasy or reality, the viewer ascends into a discovery of awareness and the journey returns from where it departed.
Though Schoultz has a critical eye on blind consumerism, he paints worlds as he sees and experiences them everyday. They are not too unfamiliar from our own, as he openly portrays what unsustainability looks like. Nevertheless, his imagery is purposefully indirect because he intends that others draw their own conclusions -- and he believes this is no less significant than the artist's intent -- a beauty and freedom granted in the forums of visual art and public space.
Andrew Schoultz has participated in major projects all over the United States, as well as internationally in Italy, Denmark, and the Netherlands. His work can be found in major public and private collections, some of which include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Palm Springs Art Museum; The Fredrick R. Weisman Art Foundation; The Progressive Art Collection, Mayfield Village, Ohio; and the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, San Francisco, California.
About the author
Karen Crews Hendon, is Chief Curator, Monterey Museum of Art.
Information about the related exhibition
In Process: Andrew Schoultz is on display at the Monterey Museum of Art July 5 through November 17, 2013.
Monterey Museum of Art Curator Karen Crews Hendon has chosen San Francisco-based artist Andrew Schoultz for the next installment of the In Process Series. In Process is an exhibition series that focuses on current work by a contemporary artist that features 10-25 works by the artist and frequently includes ephemeral, site-specific installations. The program gives artists the freedom to experiment, providing them with an empty gallery space to try out new ideas and techniques on a large scale, producing new and exciting work. Schoultz is the third artist in this series that began with two Los Angeles-based artists, Mark Licari in 2009 and Ingrid Calame in 2010.
Andrew Schoultz is known for creating monumental public wall murals, paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media installations. He gained notoriety for his street murals in collaboration with other artists such as Barry McGee and Aaron Noble among others in the San Francisco Mission district during the mid-1990s. Moving to San Francisco from Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the Dot Com boom, Schoultz created large-scale public works that addressed the struggles and cultural displacement of both inner-city neighborhoods and socio-economic crisis on a global scale.
Schoultz generates a high-energy impact with an overpopulation of meticulous renderings and controversial themes that resonate with cataclysmic force. His imagery is furious and fantastical yet deeply rooted with American historical symbols and contemporary metaphors that create a vortex of political and environmental commentary. His influences merge 15th century German map making and 14th-15th century Persian miniature paintings, juxtaposed with highly-stylized graffiti and street art.
The artist, with selected student assistants from California State University, Monterey Bay Visual and Public Art (VPA) department, will create a site-specific installation and three-part mural on the museum walls of the Jane and Justin Dart Gallery based upon the local histories of Monterey. The exhibition will also include over twenty-five paintings and present his wildly gilded Fallout installation in the McCone Gallery. The Museum's collaboration with the VPA department at CSUMB supports the art department's framework, which defines that "art is a social network", a mantra that parallels Schoultz's decree. Both San Francisco and Monterey have a rich tradition of public murals that define artist identity and community consciousness. The exhibition will also be part of the annual Art in the Adobes festival in September.
Andrew Schoultz has participated in major projects all over the United States, as well as in Italy, Denmark, and The Netherlands. His work can be found in major collections such as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Ca; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Ca; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Ca; The Fredrick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, Ca; The Progressive Art Collection, Mayfield Village, Ohio; and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, San Francisco, Ca.
Wall text from the exhibition
Fall Out is a transgressive, multi-layered installation comprised of American flags stretched over panels, embellished with acrylic and collage, besieged by gold leaf projectiles. Shredded dollar bills purchased from the U.S. treasury pile like confetti onto compositions that seem to undermine the value of currency.
Andrew Schoultz creates a provocative atmosphere as if the viewer has just appeared to witness the aftermath of warfare. One encounters the implied remnants of a once-standing brick structure with arrows thrusted into the brick rubble and a menacing canon dripping with gold. Branded with the Roman numerals for 2013, contemporary narratives of social and economic collapse reverberate throughout the environment and inspire a visceral reaction. Schoultz toggles between ideas of duality. Flags, like monuments, are powerful symbols of identity. While they mean security to one, they might represent extreme threat to another. Obscured by heavy layers of material, the stars and stripes appear to liquefy, creating an ambiguous pledge that recalls the flags of Jasper Johns. Schoultz, like Johns, examines ideas beneath the facade and what it means to be "made." Playing on ideas of cross-cultural perspectives, the artist integrates benches to simulate a public plaza and activate this dialogue.
When the artist searched for American flags to use as canvases
for paintings, he received them in packages accompanied with official certificates
that declared the flags as products of China. While some humor can be found
in this paradox, Schoultz thought the scenario to be reflective of a serious
issue: the outsourcing of jobs that directly affect his native economy.
Even gold -- an age-old material once sought after for economic power --
now has an unsustainable fluctuating value manipulated by failing currencies.
Value, financial instability, and authenticity are subjects in question,
and viewers are invited to investigate their double-edged meanings. For
Schoultz, the dichotomies in the flags naturally parallel the themes already
present in his work, and he continues to rework them repeatedly until they
develop into profound, new experiences.
(above: Partial view of the Andrew Schoultz mural painting on Monterey Museum of Art gallery walls. Image courtesy of photographer Rick Pharaoh.)
(above: Partial image of Andrew Schoultz's Monterey Museum of Art Fall Out installation. Image courtesy of photographer Rick Pharaoh.)
(above: Action image of Andrew Schoultz painting in the gallery. Image courtesy of photographer Rick Pharaoh.)
Resource Library editor's note:
The above essay was reprinted in Resource Library on October 14, 2013 with permission of author and the Monterey Museum of Art, granted to TFAO on October 10, 2013.
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