Andrew Schoultz responds to the consumer society, its greed, commerce, and global economics, as well as to corporate America, war, politics, justice and disaster in his latest show, "In Gods We Trust. " The title suggests not only the possibility of multiple religions and ideologies at war but also multiple powers that we trust with our viability.
Best known in San Francisco for his mural projects and contributions to Clarion Alley, Schoultz takes the essence of street art to the gallery and mixes the outspoken nature and iconic imagery of that medium with a sardonic message. The Statue of Liberty, for instance, poses in all her splendor as shreds of real money, sparkly red paper, and scrolls of Arabic burst before her like fireworks. In another piece, an American flag is littered with images of tigers, telephone wires and of horses, which seem to reference Mongolian horses found in Islamic art.
Using mixed forms and media, Schoultz embraces ethnic traditions such as Asian art, cartography and modern graffiti. He attempts to neutralize inherent differences by connecting the various forms, traditions and cultures for a cohesive exhibit that makes a political statement about American culture.
Amidst the bursts of reds, whites and blues exploding through iconic American images and a sculpture of the fallen pyramids which alludes to the all-seeing eye above the pyramid on the dollar, what is Shoultz saying? This piece, especially, conjures up the phrase, Annuit Coeptis, which means: "He has given approval to our undertakings." And so here lies an America in peril. The sculpture of the fallen telephone wire, piles of bricks and debris speaks to neglect, the aftermath of disaster and the abandonment of American responsibility and regard. This is our America: incomprehensible and ineffectual.
*Images, from top to bottom: "Let's Meet in the Middle, 2008," mixed media on panel, 36" x 28." "The Last 8 Years Brought Us (Broken Bridges, Rising Waters, & F@!#ing Chaos), 2008," mixed media on panel, 48" x 75." "Untitled (Horse), 2008," mixed media on paper, 25.5" x 18.25." "The Falling, The Sky, 2008," mixed media on paper, 80.5" x 79.5." "From The Heavens To The Sea, 2008," mixed media on panel, 95.5" x 47.5."
All works by Andrew Schoultz. Images courtesy of the Artist and Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco.