Catie Swift has been volunteering with us at the Barrick for almost two months. Did she want to write about Andrew Schoultz? She did. Here she is —
When I walked into the museum to witness the perplexing art of Andrew Schoultz’s In Process: Every Movement Counts, I was both enthralled and in a state of complex amazement. It was as though I was about to begin a journey. Where would it take me? The size, color, and content of the line murals overwhelmed me. There was an immense presence and irresistible draw to the space. With the sudden influx of movement and hue present on the walls, I was brought into a distant reality- a feeling not uncommon to others who visit this show. What was a farce and what was real? The museum came alive before me. The large, hypnotic, acrylic wall paintings titled Spinning Eyes and Moiré Experiment, tricked me into thinking there was fluidity in the two-dimensional pieces. I was spellbound, possibly even brainwashed by the intricacy. The once white walls were brimming with life and vibrancy. I was drawn in by the art organism, perplexed by its ability to live and breathe. As I continued to slowly wander, I was excited to see the innermost thoughts of the being. I questioned, “What does it represent?” and “How does it function?“ as it pulled me deeper into the space.
More images and ideas were resonating throughout the East Gallery. The artist brought forth an array of diverse thoughts and notions on a variety of subjects- some more hardening than others. I was presented with opinions on the state of the government, integrity of the justice system, life, death, and destruction. This revealed the outside forces facing the creative being before me. I then wandered into the heart of the museum. I was overwhelmed with images that were symbolic to me of personal struggles and sentiments. The smaller acrylic paintings such as Swimming Beast (Vessel) and Hand of Life, Bursting Beast reminded me of illustrations one would see in an ominous tarot card reading. It is like a foreshadowing or warning of future happenings or validations of past occurrences. The depictions are busy, and multiple meanings can be taken from both the content and the titles. This is a show that will cause you to reflect and reevaluate important issues and how they personally affect you. Some problems in society are larger than life, but recognizing their existence is the first step to creating a solution and a more desirable society.
The most impactful piece that pulled me into Schoultz’s enigma was within the Infinity Plaza installation. Limits do not exist when one takes a step within the space. Taking the appearance of an open window possibly created by some sort of explosion, the viewer can look out into a familiar scene- a starry night sky. I felt as though I could take step straight through the mural. Where would the empty, quiet space take us? The possibilities ran endlessly through my mind. Another world or a different time? Or maybe just a place to escape into an infinite void where I do not have to think about the world around me. Complete with a large infinity symbol-shaped sculpture painted in the same starry night design and three benches surrounding it, the mural is not strictly confined to the boundaries of the two-dimensional painting. I could be seated in the space and not feel as though I am being overpowered with information from the enigmatic organism. It similar to being in a daydream, a comfortable place you do not want to leave. As a viewer, this served as a place to escape- a corner where the troubles of the world, depicted throughout the rest of the show, are far behind you.
I felt as though the exhibition as a whole took me to a far away land, but this may simply be the personification of the world through the eyes of Schoultz. Maybe it was that it transferred me to another frame of mind regarding our country’s issues. Through my eyes, this reflects daily life- depicts of the struggle, destruction, life, and death of issues currently facing us. We are each fighting our personal battles in addition to what is being thrown at us on a larger scale. There is a struggle to balance it all, as depicted by the Scales of Justice. We are struggling to determine right from wrong and to justify our beliefs in an already corrupted society. The state of politics is in shambles as shown in Blown to Bits. Fragments of the American flag are shown on torn paper amidst a large vortex. This place was in vibrant color, contrasting to the somber, severe topics mentioned. It does not seem as though this world we live in is a reality.
I extensively enjoyed that Schoultz created a sense of mystery, as the pieces and murals could draw multiple meanings from different people. After further investigation of this show through an interview article on the Las Vegas Review-Journal site titled “Artist brings his creative world to UNLV at museum”, I found that Schoultz did not give specifics on what he wanted his pieces to mean aside from the more obvious sentiments available to the viewer. As onlookers, this gives us the opportunity to speculate, create our own beliefs, and start a dialogue about the entirety of the show and how these dynamic topics could be tackled. I felt that this show not only made me inquire – which is important in art- but it also challenged my mindset and has considerably altered my values regarding society and my personal effect on issues. Ultimately, it could be that this show changes yours.
Cling, Carol. “Artist brings his creative world to UNLV art museum.” Las Vegas Review-Journal. 1 June 2018. Article.
Image at top of post: Andrew Schoultz, Spinning Eyes and Moiré Experiment (detail), both 2018, Acrylic on wall.
Photo: UNLV Creative Services/ Lonnie Timmons III