Hailing from San Francisco, the artists create fantastical narratives with underlying elements of political awareness. The works on view confront issues including femininity, community, domination, and war. These topics are represented in each artist’s own artistic style: Laura Ball guides us through an exploration of her dream-like, beautifully crafted watercolors; and Andrew Schoultz expresses his ideals with his explosive, obsessive mark-making techniques.
Laura Ball’s watercolor narratives are derived from constructed and documented games played by her mother and three sisters. The grown women, fighting with water pistols, ride candy-colored carousel horses, baboons, and elk while galloping towards an imaginary finish line. Ball’s watercolors depict these fashionable women engaging in youthful games perhaps to convey the overlapping ideas of competition and battle. Ball translates the stoic and serious event of war into a whimsical and frivolous playtime. The pastel colors and negative space that are a constant in Ball’s “Rider” watercolors lend a sense of simplicity that balances the eruptive representations themselves. Ball’s “Jungle” works are conceivably a nod to the Vietnam War, with women lurking behind palm fronds, and using their pointed fingers as imaginary weapons. The irony certainly lies in the circular motion of implication and imitation; adults are playing games that children play to emulate adults. Ball’s work takes full charge of the notion of fantasy, opening a window to her subconscious, where we drift, float, whirl, and whiz through the mappings of her introspective mind and heart.
Andrew Schoultz’s background in graffiti, underground comics, and public mural design inform his artistic choices. His fantastical, post-apocalyptic imagery evokes medieval manuscripts that chart the contentious history between man and nature. Armature clad horses don coats of arms decorated with Masonic pyramids encasing omnipotent eyes. The animals are tied and bound, huffing and hoofing at the ground in an eternal dance. These etching- like drawings reference ideals of capitalism, monopolization, and subordination, proposing a dialogue between the artist and the viewer. Schoultz’s hand alternates between heavy and light, using bold neon acrylics along with fine point ink lines, creating a balance between the street and fine art. An explosive faculty of high and low is summoned, applying painterly details along with the positively identifiable imagery of graffiti. These intensely rendered pieces put the elements of global urban culture firmly in the center of the polemics of fine art. The serial imagery Schoultz utilizes echoes the individuality of the traditional street graffiti “tag” which remains unchanged, perhaps only altered by a variation in color or scale, and is used as a calling card for the artist. Schoultz employs these animal characters over and over again, further exploring the struggle and triumph of the everyman, in turn raising the political self-consciousness of the viewer.