Andrew Schoultz at Morgan Lehman Gallery

Drawing from a range of inspirations in his work—including elements as disparate as medieval mapmaking, Persian miniatures and underground comic books—artist Andrew Schoultz’s (NAP #79) pieces present a commentary on the history of warfare, globalization, and environmental concerns. Cleverly making connections to events across history, his work offers viewers considerable food for thought without being overly didactic. An artist based in San Francisco, Schoultz’s roots in graffiti and street art manifest in immersive installations, in which the colors and imagery in each panel spill onto the wall, floors, and benches of the gallery. – Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Andrew Schoultz: New Work, Installation view. Image courtesy Morgan Lehman Gallery.

Andrew Schoultz: New Work, Installation view. Image courtesy Morgan Lehman Gallery.

Andrew Schoultz | Shamans Under Tree, 2013, Acrylic, Collage, And Gold Leaf, On Panel, 48h x 48w in. Image courtesy Morgan Lehman Gallery.

For those familiar with Schoultz’s work, many reoccurring motifs make an appearance in the new works on view at Morgan Lehman Gallery. His signature style of building up chaotic and busy surfaces with collaged elements, most notably those made with foreign and US currency, can be seen throughout. The addition of currency evokes the shifting global economy, and its frenzied appearance that overlays and obscures each picture make subtle reference to the global economic crisis. In some instances, the references are not as subtle, as in Shamans Under Tree. In this work four figures bow to a tree, in which the leaves are constructed of international bills.

Andrew Schoultz | Double Mast Ship, 2013, Acrylic And Collage On Wood Panel, 48h x 48w in, Image courtesy Morgan Lehman Gallery.

Schoultz has described his work as “art that’s attempting to create experiences and visuals that in some way record contemporary history.” In doing so, he also reaches across time and connects events in recent history to those from the distant past. The figure of the rearing horse that often appears in his pieces makes reference to Norman imagery of battle scenes, from as far back as the 11th century. These medieval depictions of warfare are juxtaposed with modern-day tanks and paratroopers.

Andrew Schoultz | Para Trooping Skull Ship, 2013, Acrylic, Collage, String, and approximately $7000 shredded US currency, on Canvas stretched over Panel, 72h x 48w in. Image courtesy Morgan Lehman Gallery.

Similarly, depictions of antique vessels replete with masts and skull-covered sails are drawn alongside airborne technology, as in Para Trooping Skull Ship. The dense backdrop of US currency (approximately $7,000 worth) makes wry reference to military spending, and humorously suggests the futility of the mechanisms that may emerge.

Andrew Schoultz | Repetition Repetition (spinning water), 2013, Acrylic, Collage And Gouache On Linen, 77h x 84w in, Image courtesy Morgan Lehman Gallery.

The cyclical nature of the themes his works explore is more overtly suggested in one of the show’s largest panels, Repetition, Repetition (spinning water). In this work a circular motif is shown amidst a raging sea of crashing waves. Within his practice, Schoultz has credited the tide imagery to the idea of man vs. nature—a theme that runs throughout many works in the form of cyclones, volcanoes, and other natural disasters. Among the violent waves, a ring of ships struggle to stay afloat, as volcanoes erupt in the circle’s center. This spiraling chaos represents a seemingly unstoppable force, with the waves rupturing the canvas’s edge, and engulfing the gallery’s wall.

Andrew Schoultz: New Work, Installation view. Image courtesy Morgan Lehman Gallery.

However, the political content of Schoultz’s work is not the artist’s only concern, as he also hopes formal elements of his practice inspire others to think beyond the confines of traditional image-making. He says: “For me, that’s of importance and would be my success in making art, [if it] inspires others to make some art or be creative.”

Andrew Schoultz | Tornado (Up In The Air), 2013, Acrylic, Collage, Graphite, And String On Wooden Panel, 72h x 48w in. Image courtesy Morgan Lehman Gallery.

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Andrew Schoultz (b. 1975) currently lives and works in San Francisco. He received his BFA from the Academy of Arts in San Francisco in 2000. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Art Museum, and he is currently having his first solo museum show, In Process, at the Monterey Museum of Art in California.

Andrew Schoultz: New Work will be on view at Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York through October 12th.

Nadiah Fellah is a graduate student of Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY in New York.

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