• karen crews hendon

Andrew Schoultz - Age of Empire, Joshua Liner Gallery, New York

Updated: May 27, 2020

Upon entering the gallery door, you have traveled through a portal into a new space and time. Dropping into an unknown world, both foreign and familiar, you are an explorer. Navigating through the space, the paintings on the walls are powerfully charged. These windows into history anchor you to the room, weaving together the past and present into one timeless story. Great pillars collapse around you, yet one still stands. Perhaps the last one needs to fall in order to create something progressive and new. Are you inside a mythic tale or are you witness to the grand strategies and revolutionary implications of empires in the making?

Joshua Liner Gallery presents Andrew Schoultz—Age of Empire, the artist’s most ambitious solo exhibition and multi-dimensional installation in New York. Setting the stage, Schoultz’s new work seamlessly converges the mayhem of historic events into one universal tapestry.

Rapturously lined with silks of shameless imperium, embellished with repetitions of restless conquests, and ornamented with shrouds of cultural dissidence, the artist saturates his work with emblematic hues of nationalism, exposing a crude gap between the state of peace and the state of war. Created with colorful, dreamlike extravagance, Schoultz blends his graphic style with similar illustrations found in 16th-century illuminated manuscripts and Persian miniatures.

Intricately detailed with layers of chaotic duplication, Schoultz’s primary colors vibrate off the canvas. Reds, yellows, and blues are imposed over his black and white offset geometry, producing dynamic effects reminiscent of modernist painter and color theorist Josef Albers. Similar to Albers, Schoultz manipulates color and line to explore a vast range of optical and psychological effects. His layered gradations seen on the walls, along his borders, and especially integrated into his paintings Improvisational Explosion, 2016, and his red, white, and blue Broken Pattern, 2016 series, create illusions of frenetic movement. His exposed grids both advance and recede, generating an analogue experience of attraction, resistance, and overall instability.

Inspired by Albers’ theories that color continually deceives and can be perceived in innumerable ways, Schoultz too plays with open-ended ideas of perception. He encourages the viewers to tap into his openly hidden meanings and create their own observations. Purposefully using a subtractive color model, similar to the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and key black) limitations of a machine printer, he explores the bright and kinetic impacts from layering multiple hues of similar colors to produce infinite possibilities on the visible spectrum.

Schoultz continues to push his work with symbolic and allegorical themes without the distinction of literal representations. His imaginative zoomorphic forms and abstract linear patterns act like an ancient codex, connecting one narrative to another. His signature adversaries have mutated into greater atrocities. The armored warhorses emerge with four heads instead of one, the industrious elephants have multiplied creating an endless force, the foreboding slave-ships transcend their waters emerging from multiple dimensions, and the crusader helmets assert power that can shadow the mountains.

His visual jam spotlights global and economic crisis, the aftermath of wars, and ensuing natural disasters. The obsessive grids painted in his backgrounds hint that things are not as they seem, as they ribbon and warp at the edges revealing different colors underneath. Andrew Schoultz’s artwork is a careful reminder of how regressive contemporary culture might become when it continues to move, without resistance, toward the individual interests of those at the top.

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