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December 2-January 13, 2006 at Taylor De Cordoba, Culver City

by Shirle Gottlieb

All images courtesy Andrew
Schoultz and Taylor De
Cordoba, Los Angeles

"Horse Profile," 2006, ink and
acrylic on paper, 30 x 22".

"Slaveship Projection #2," 2006,
ink and acrylic on paper,
22 x 30".

"Untitled (Castle),"
2006, ink and
acrylic on paper,
15 x 11 1/4".

"Summons the Dynamic from a
Pollution Hole,"
2006, ink and
acrylic on paper,
9 1/2 x 10".

At first thought, it certainly seems oxymoronic. How can viewers possibly experience the raw energy, edgy imagery, and passionate concerns of an acclaimed Bay Area street-artist in the confined space of a Southern California art gallery?

Such is the challenge for Andrew Schoultz, who made headlines in the early nineties by creating four-block-long murals in San Francisco’s depressed Mission District and in poverty-stricken Indonesia.

Completely dedicated, highly disciplined, and largely self-taught, this Milwaukee-born artist is determined to bring his message into the gallery, where it will reach a different audience and echelon of viewers than those who see it on the street.

Don’t go to Schoultz’ “Loud and Quiet” exhibit with the preconceived notion that what’s on view will resemble other muralists, graffiti artists, or blatant vandals who slap paint around the city. Quite the contrary.

Although a subtle subtext alludes to socio-political concerns such as the world’s environmental crisis, economic inequality, war, and political corruption, Schoultz’ visual vocabulary is a combination of fine art, folk art, Americana, and a creative imagination that is uniquely his own. It is a voice that is haunting, lyrical and allegorical.

On exhibit here is an astonishing collection of new drawings and paintings that range in size from 30 by 40 inches to eight feet tall. Displaying strong graphic skills and using bright bold color, the 32-year-old artist infuses each work with enigmatic symbols or timeless metaphors drawn from sources as diverse as Greek mythology, Biblical prophesy, medieval illumination and poetic fantasy. It all underscores the delicate balance between man and nature.

Because his imagery is so deeply personal, it will evoke varied meanings among viewers, depending on what life experiences they bring to it.

Striking visual elements range from red, blue, and black horses that gallop over ramparts as they race through time and space; to rushing water that flows in, out, and around buttresses; and a wooden ship like Noah’s Ark that is battered about by a dangerous storm.

Meticulous detail is found wherever your eye happens to fall. There are compelling and compulsive passages such as multi-colored explosions in the sky, red arrows flying through clouds at the same speed as blue birds, men on ramparts dressed in Eastern European/Middle Eastern clothing, or dragons being ejected from industrial smoke-stacks.
In the past, Schoultz has painted scenes that might represent Armageddon, Don Quixote chasing modern-day evils, or self-righteous knights on self-appointed crusades. It all depends on how you look at them.

With visual energy and layers of detail, his images come to life in the gallery as vividly as they do in the street. Though they are smaller in scale, they’ve lost none of their power. While Schoultz continues his commitment to make art for the gallery, his first love is (and perhaps always will be) creating street-art in public places.

After completing work for this solo show, Schoultz has plans to collaborate on a seven-story project in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District in collaboration with the artist known as Apex. If everything goes as scheduled, it will be one of the largest public murals in the Bay Area.