On the eve of destruction–Andrew Schoultz and AJ Fosik take over Space 1026

IMG_9244 AJ Fosik
AJ Fosik at Space 1026, part of a two-man show/installation, New Ancient Structures. The other man is Andrew Schoultz

In a zippy and smart collaborative installation at Space 1026, New Ancient Structures, featuring work by Philadelphia sculptor AJ Fosik and San Francisco mural artist, Andrew Schoultz, urban grit provides a home for beasts of the forest and mind. The energy level is high, here, and so is the command of the space and the walls.

IMG_9232 Andrew Schoultz
Andrew Schoultz’s mural, reeling telephone poles, overhead wires, and piles of bricks control the space.

Schoultz is the guy who creates the milieu, with free standing telephone poles and overhead wires linking to a semi-abstracted mural of the same sort of imagery. The mural is a mix of printing on the wall, collage and painting, and it shimmers with the energy of the power grid and what I take for birds along with rocks and wild weather–all exploding over the wall.

IMG_9250 Andrew Schoultz
detail of Andrew Schoultz’s mural

A tornado’s path of destruction snaps telephone poles, hurling them in the air. Stacks of bricks (blocks of wood painted brick colors) suggest walls undone.

I am reminded of the energy of Julie Mehretu, but Schoultz’s sense of telling a story and creating a space has a populist clarity that transcends the snobbery of the art world, without going low-brow.

AJ Fosik
AJ Fosik

Amid the wild destruction of the tornado, AJ Fosik’s bear-like creatures emit energy and destruction of their own–an Unpeaceable Kingdom that clearly has looked at sign painter Edward Hicks’ iconic folk art. There’s a cartoon-y Pop punch and a nod to Super Graphics style, as well as a midway aesthetic of blaring signs that attract and threaten all at once. Fosik is channeling pyramids and crystals and other ancient magical talismans.

I am also reminded of the folk-pop colorful wooden sculptures by Rodney Alan Greenblat–without the retro archness.

Although I don’t really think I can say that the two installation styles are totally integrated visually, they do make a wonderful conceptual whole, with Schoultz’s installation providing a sort of narrative space in which Fosik’s icons rule. Both bodies of work are so clear in their intent and so pleasurable in their look and craftsmanship, I gotta say I loved the show!

IMG_9237 AJ Fosik
AJ Fosik

The last time Fosik showed in Philly was at Tin Man Alley. So it’s no surprise he is represented by Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York. He has also shown recently in Paris (at L.J. Beaubourg) and San Francisco (at White Walls Gallery, where Schoultz shows).

Schoultz, whose murals stretch from Indonesia to St. Paul, Minn., shows nationally and internationally. He is now in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and has shows on the way in Copenhagen (at V1 Gallery) and L.A.(at Roberts & Tilton). Message to Roberta: Schoultz is a native of Milwaukee!!!

This show runs until Jan. 30.