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evolution of a language


evolution of a language

“What we’re inventing here is a dispassionate artform that is very

simple, and built entirely from innocent forms.

But we also like the idea of it being extremely



and optically stimulating, whilst carrying a concealed cargo of scouring passion. You




contradictory elements.”

evolution of a language Recent works from Tolar Schultz

The 2017-2019 paintings of Tolar Schultz were made in collaboration with her longtime working partner and husband Edward Povey, but as Edward necessarily returned to his own paintings, Tolar continued the stream of explorations, in what was already a unique concept. Tolar Schultz currently makes abstract works using written language, not for its inherent meaning or content but for the marks from which Latin-based script is constructed. She deliberately buries meaning by over-layering the text repeatedly, a counterintuitive technique that is not new to her because Edward, who has habitually written throughout his life, has long used overwriting as a method of rendering private diary notes unreadable. Schultz’s rationale for using rigorously selected passages from books in the first place, is twofold: she desires to impregnate the very fabric of the canvas with the flavor of the literature that fills it, absorbed via the attending hands and minds of the transcribing artist, however she deliberately entombs the specifics of the text, having strong views about the avoidance of narrative and campaigning in her art. This reverberating ambiance provides only one nonethe-less important part of a whole, and Schultz insists that her paintings are essentially visual, and are not a vehicle for literature. On the contrary, the works are sensually built through the mechanism of a staged performance, and are designed to optically entrap the viewer, so as to allow the less immediate, subtle layers to absorb. Her paintings are in effect fabricated to function. In pursuit of forms that are liberated from self-consciousness, Schultz and Povey spent the last two years creating a process sufficiently stringent as to


dominate their attention, leaving their hands free to guilelessly generate the second bi-product of using text: the unaffected marks of script. This, over-laid and freed of literal meaning gives birth to an innocent species of unplanned shapes and gestures, both positive and negative. The artists experimented in meticulously overlaying lines of text by thirds and halves, and by juxtaposing the main bodies of letters and using their ascenders and descenders to generate vertically forested strips – all in the cause of manufacturing artless planes of derived pattern. Historically, the visual aspect of written text was always rendered secondary to its primary function of conveying meaning, which once removed by Povey and Schultz’s, unveiled a hitherto unappreciated harvest of forms. Although this visually important approach appears in Islamic and Celtic cultures, Povey and Schultz’s approach is more consciously designed to be entirely visual, as becomes a visual art. In the current works, Schultz avoids overt composition, favoring experiential two-dimensional surfaces crafted to produce a range of optical effects. The planes appear to shimmer and vibrate, rotate, gain depth and to glow uncannily. She uses standard pigment-saturated oil paints and pure acrylic pigment pens to create all their effects, generating fluorescent phenomena whilst challenging herself to strictly avoid the use of fluorescent paints. Making the paintings is a euphoric experience for Schultz, and is simultaneously uncomfortable. The chosen passages are read aloud and recorded onto a series of tapes which are then played back at high volume in her studio. She transcribes the words for days, capturing only one word in several, deliberately allowing her writing speed and the demands of the materials to organically randomize the text, which begins the procedure of discarding the primary significance of the passages. This process causes an unsettled mental state, as her mind searches for and is denied meaning. Meanwhile, her hands battle with often awkward mediums like transparent gold size, easily blunted pencils, temperamental oil pastels or crayons, or Gypsum plaster-laden oil paint, all of which she deems indispensable to the effects she is intending. In some of the paintings, she spends as much as a week laying down discordant colors which


flicker against each other giving the irresistible illusion of space, but this causes an accumulative diminution of stamina, equaled by a rising anticipation as unexpected results and sensations begin to appear. Matching colors on the paintings themselves is literally impossible, given the range of optical effects at work, soundly deceiving her in respect of the true nature of the colors. Despite the resulting exhaustion and mental effects of the work, she manages between six and eight hours daily in the studio, seven days a week, because she knows that she must maintain a creative momentum, a thrust vital to carrying the source ideas’ original energy faithfully through to the finished paintings. As Schultz tires, her works appear to stockpile virility, and if her finished canvases fail to carry a robust stamina of their own, they are returned to the studio for revision or destruction. For more than a decade Edward Povey and Tolar Schultz virtually lived in each others’ studios, sharing opinions and discussing solutions to questions arising in the others’ work, only physically sharing the work when they realized the enormous processing advantage of their debates. The creative conversations which individual artists experience internally, are externalized by this pair, and they appear to enjoy more clarity, enhanced critical judgment and twice the mental and intuitive resources, not to mention the perspectives of two distinct cultures. They often gestate ideas for months or years, shaping and re-contextualizing them, ultimately making them physical, or using them as a springboard to a different concept. All this is noted, drawn and diagrammed in reams of ongoing manifesto notes. Accordingly, the Painted Language works had their seeds in paintings of theirs from 2013. As a rule of thumb, they require all their works to answer questions, be they non-verbal emotional questions, the progression of ideas, or the exploring of process issues. Of course, not all works provide concrete answers, but they precipitate unforeseen doorways to new innovative possibilities. From the artists’ perspective, the dominant purpose of their paintings is to enable them to see something that was previously hidden. The first purely abstract collaborative works from the couple appeared in 2017. They had previously made idiosyncratic works depicting human bodies, which they now replaced with a human presence drafted in from literature. This ushered in complex human thought, chosen for its distinct scent in paintings whose predominant object was to handle form and effect. The result was the unique interweaving of two related but completely distinct strata. These


inceptive pieces stepped into such new territory that Povey and Schultz constrained them to monochrome and monotonic plates of superimposed language in 2017, to allow themselves to observe their new mechanism starkly. But taken unawares by the unanticipated optical fluctuations, and the unaccountable sense of visual space which had emerged, they immediately intuited a new possibility: to resolutely widen and deepen the phenomena as an irresistible means of obtaining some new perspectives on the Painted Language concept. Having extracted forms from text, now they proposed using those forms as a mold, turning their positive and negative spaces into indubitable visual equals, reminiscent of Edgar Rubin’s ambiguous vase1. Next, they felt disposed to further undermining the flatness of the surfaces by exaggerating our perception of depth, stacking perceptual challenge upon challenge; and finally, by radically varying the sizes of the writing they foresaw introducing a more muscular vitality to some of the paintings, whilst others maintained a hovering stillness, such as in Praxis Implacable. Synchronously, the choices of source texts were to be more acutely selected. In the 2018 collection Schultz was taking over the reins, and worrying over this, narrowing her focus to passages from obsessive and prototypical figures. She finally used all thirteen chapters of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War2; the whole of Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī’s The Blissful Longing of Rumi3; and the authentic love letters of Elisabeth Barth, Julie Oesterle and Elisabeth J. to the brutal Adolf Hitler in 1934-38 from the book: Letters to Hitler4. Interestingly, the American Cognitive Neuroscientist Irving Biedermann studied human beings’ extraordinary ability to reconstruct and identify text or objects from degraded or scrambled components5. It would be exactly thirty years before Schultz would use Biedermann’s findings in art, precisely degrading script by layering it, and by omitting words, convinced that the subconscious could still imbibe an impression of the original material.

1. The seminal work on the figure-ground relationship is “Synoplevede Figurer” [Figure and Ground] by Edgar Rubin, Gyldendalske,1915, translated and reprinted in “Readings in Percep-tion” by David C. Beardslee and Michael Werth-eimer, D. Van Nostrand, 1958, p. 194–203. 2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu, 554-496 BC. Ron Silver (Narrator), B.D. Wong (Narrator), Sun Tzu (Author), Introduction by Stefan Rudnicki (Author), Phoenix Books (Publisher) Public Domain (P)1996. 3.The Blissful Longing of Rumi, by Jalal ad-Din Rumi. Narrated, by: Clay Lomakayu. Length: 1 hr and, 56 mins. Unabridged. Release date: 12-12-16. Language:, English. Publisher: MSAC Philosophy Group 4. Letters to Hitler, English Edition, by Henrik Eberle (Editor), Victoria Harris (Introduction, English Edition Editor), translated by Steven Rendall. © Polity Press, 2012, All rights Reserved. First published in German as “Briefe an Hitler” (ed. by Henrik Eberle) © Verlagsgruppe Lüppe GmbH & CO. KG, 2007 All Rights Reserved.


Naturally Schultz employed the theory with quite other motives, yet given her human-based art, it is apropos that the same concept is nowadays used in human facial recognition. She employed reflective metal gilding, background photographic images with their own illusory space, and chiefly the use of what is termed Chromostereopsis6. The phenomenon is founded in an anomaly in the brain’s processing of colors of widely differing wavelengths, in a nutshell, using precise color discords to convince the brain that depth occurs where there is no depth. The paintings do not attempt to express feelings in the paint itself. Instead they distance the artist from the viewer behind ranks of devices which trouble the equilibrium and defy the eyes of both viewers and artist. The surfaces are machines adroitly designed to lie and deceive the senses; to remorselessly undermine the viewer’s acuity whilst allowing their subconscious blunt exposure to encoded messages. After all, every speck of paint that the viewer discerns emerges from the source texts. On some level in Praxis Implacable, the observer is intuiting a clearly aroused woman’s tender and passionate words whispered in the ear of her beloved leader, the ruthless Adolf Hitler. Feelings indeed. The vibrating and misleading space in Goethe’s War, (page 33-34) was contrived from colors which were repeatedly corrected to act as optically agitated neighbors, and the trembling surface is fashioned in its entirety from the seasoned advice of the methodical general and military strategist, Sun Tzu, alive five centuries before Christ, his voice echoing down the centuries. Although Schultz labors over the visualization, the ingredients and process of these works, she has no interest in enclosed debates as to their ultimate meaning, or in limiting their end results. Her meticulousness is equaled by her commitment to a surprisingly radical organic evolution of her canvases. To use a familiar claim, these paintings avoid easy categorization, because they

5. e.g., Margalit, E., Biederman, I., Tjan, B.S., & Shah, M.P. (2017). What is Actually Affected by the Scrambling of Objects When Localizing the Lateral Occipital Complex? Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 29(9), 1595-1604. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01144 . Professor Irving Biederman, Harold W. Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience; Department of Psychology; Program in Neuroscience; Department of Computer Science; Director, Image Understanding Laboratory, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. 6. Peter Thompson, Keith May, Robert Stone, Chromostereopsis: a multicomponent depth effect?, Displays, Volume 14, Issue 4, 1993, Pages 227-234, ISSN 0141-9382, ( pii/014193829390093K). Keywords: chromostereopsis; colour; depth; Stiles-Crawford effect; luminance.



present themselves variously as Color Plane Painting, Op Art, and Process Art despite being founded on a unique concept that strives with optics and psychology to covertly impregnate paintings with a pithy human presence. She handles quintessentially complex human material that denies us any verbal explanation, none-the-less she curbs her handling of it to include as few elements as are necessary. She regards fussiness and explanations as unnecessary apologies. In sum, a risky and meticulously crafted experience, though in fact Schultz have no interest in regulating the reactions of her audience, which would be to underestimate them and to invade their role as observers. The Painted Language pieces simply speak to the artist’s desire for an honest and perhaps scalding artistic purpose, convoluted though these paintings are. For all their optical lies, they are places, and they do function on us. Michael Walters, July, 2019 ___________________________________







































PLATES Page 12-15 CARPENTER I 2019 Acrylic and india ink on canvas 48 x 48 in | 121.92 x 121.92 cm

Page 36-39 FUSIBLE IDIOM 2018 Acrylic, graphite, metal leaf gilding on panel 36 x 58 in | 81.28 x 114.94 cm

Page 16-19 ARCHITECT I 2019 Acrylic and india ink on canvas 48 x 48 in | 121.92 x 121.92 cm

Page 40-43 TABRIZI’S COMPASS 2018 Acrylic, colored pencil, metal leaf gilding 36 x 58 in | 91.44 x 147.32 cm

Page 20-23 ARTIST I 2019 Acrylic and india ink on canvas 48 x 48 in | 121.92 x 121.92 cm

Page 44-47 PRAXIS IMPLACABLE 2018 Oil paint and gypsum plaster on canvas 46 x 80 in | 116.84 x 203.20 cm

Page 24-27 LINGUISTIC ABERRATION 2018 Oil paint and gypsum plaster on canvas 48 x 48 in | 121.92 x 121.92 cm

Page 48-51 DILATED LANGUAGE I 2018 Oil paint and gypsum plaster on canvas 36 x 58 in | 91.44 x 147.32 cm

Page 28-31 BI-STABLE STANZA 2018 Acrylic pigment and acrylic paint on canvas 36 x 58 in | 91.44 x 147.32 cm

Page 52-55 DILATED LANGUAGE II 2018 Oil paint and gypsum plaster on canvas 36 x 58 in | 91.44 x 147.32 cm

Page 32-35 GOETHE’S WAR 2018 Oil paint and gypsum plaster on canvas 36 x 58 in | 91.44 x 147.32 cm

Page 44-47 BLACK MNEMONIC 2017 Acrylic on panel 37 x 60 | 93.9 x 152.4 cm



SELECTED BIOGRAPHY 1966 Born. Cleveland, Tennessee, USA. 1981

Apprentices in lithographic printing. Fort Myers, Florida.


Studies art at Abraham Baldwin College. Georgia.


Works in design interpretation, layout, dark room technique, plate making. Cape Coral, Florida.

1992-1995 Apprentices in design, composition. Ocala, Florida and Daphne, Alabama. 2003-2004 Tolar Schultz meets British Figurative Symbolist Edward Povey, Sarasota, Florida. Discussions about Figurative Symbolism. Grounding in art history, style chronology, colour evolution, composition and perspective, working methods, process. 2004-2005 Povey and Schultz study form in London art museums, and work in their Caribbean, Wales and Florida studios. Schultz studies fundamentals of drawing and painting at Povey’s University of Wales Studio, United Kingdom. Schultz discovers personal processes and her own form of feminist Figurative Symbolism. 2006-2008 Studies the photography of fine art and conservation. Photographs Welsh and English models, designs a body of paintings. Tours London, New York, Seattle, Miami and Texas collectors delivering lectures about her new body of work. MOMA Wales hangs a Schultz work


2008-09 Shows with Kooywood Gallery in Cardiff, Wales. Povey and Schultz interviewed on BBC Television, ITV Television, S4C Television and in regional newspapers regarding their transition to USA. Schultz delivers lectures about her work in Wales, England and the USA. Povey and Schultz build a studio in the Hill Country around Austin, Texas. 2010

Schultz and Povey marry in San Marcos, Texas.

2011-12 Studies a wide range of in-depth subjects including composition, oil glazing, drawing, the philosophy of style, new understandings of art history, colour, the handling of materials, the dynamics of the current art world. Works in her Sub Rosa studio outside Austin, Texas. Supports Povey in exploration of colour, concept and stylistic challenges on his new series of Figurative Symbolist paintings. 2013-15 Schultz studies early works of Argentine artist Sol Halabi in search of a new visual language, in an attempt to introduce abstraction into her figurative works. Designs and makes Deconstructionist paintings, discussed by Italian Museum Curator Giuseppe Bachi. 2016

Schultz is photographed by Philip Rogers. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, publishes their charter for ethics in artificial intelligence, using Schultz paintings as illustrations. They advise the White House and United Nations on growing concerns around the ethics of AI. Schultz talks with major galleries in New York about her Deconstructionist paintings. Discussions with Miles McEnery, who handles the estate of Hans Hoffman; Anita Shapolsky who famously brought Modernist abstractionists to New York; and Rhona Hoffman, grand dame of the Chicago art world.


Experiments with printed human figures alongside abstraction. Designs three diverse collections of paintings. Conservation and materials research. 2017

Moves with Povey to Villa Rosa, a beachside studio. Pensacola, Florida. Makes two collections of paintings each year. Distills paintings back to overlaid written language, exploring varied ways of handling the concept, combining oils, acrylics, gilding and graphite. Resolution of process, technical and conservation issues. Several works purchased by the Besharat Gallery and Museum.


Continues with ‘Language Abstracts’. New Orleans Gallerist offers Povey and Schultz an artists’ residency at her bayou studio in Summer 2018. The isolation provides Schultz with the perfect environment in which to combine the portraiture of working people with written language. Fulfills commissions for New York, Austin, Texas and New Orleans collectors (gilding, painting, process work, conservation).

2019 Photographs several models, photoshop manipulates images and transfers to canvas, beside adapted Constructivist forms. Collaborates with Smithsonian Museum conservators in resolving conservation issues with new paintings. Stays at the Welsh home of the nephew of Ralph Mayer, author of world renowned ‘bible of art techniques and materials’ book series. Emigrates to North Devon, England. Travels in search of models for her Language and Occupation body of paintings. Works at her isolated studio in Devon, England.



solo and group

New Orleans, Angela King Gallery Atlanta, Besharat Gallery


New Orleans, Angela King Gallery Atlanta, Besharat Gallery Aspen, Gallery 1949


Atlanta, Besharat Gallery Aspen, Gallery 1949

Private lectures to collectors in three venues in Texas


Atlanta, Besharat Gallery Aspen, Gallery 1949


Atlanta, Besharat Gallery

New Orleans, Angela King Gallery


Atlanta, Besharat Gallery New Orleans, Angela King Gallery


Art Palm Beach: Besharat Gallery New Orleans, Angela King Gallery: The Art of Revelation


New Orleans, Angela King Gallery

2009 Showing in private lectures to her collectors in New York, Seattle, Austin, TX, Miami, London 2008 Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff, Wales 2007

Showing in private lectures to her collectors in New York, Austin, Miami,

Wales, Royal Cambrian Academy Virginia Beach, Contemporary Art Museum Wales, Plas Glyn Y Weddw Museum


Showing in private lectures to her collectors in London and Seattle


Wales, Plas Glyn Y Weddw Museum


SELECTED COLLECTIONS MOMA Wales, permanent collection. USA, 3M Art Collection London, Goldman Sachs Virginia Beach, the office of the Mayor Texas, The Citadelle Art Foundation The Besharat Museum, Atlanta, Georgia Selected Private Collections Cefin Roberts, actor, director, Artistic Director of the Welsh National Theater Harvey Guion, actor (Silent Fall, Holy Hell, Normalcy, Our Town) Kathleen Guion, former Division President of Dollar General Ken Owen, playwright: (Stage, Radio, TV: Ethiopia Newydd, Genod Oer) Collection of David and Teresa Wilkinson, Goldman Sachs Bank, London Former director of Equities in the Morgan Chase Bank Christy Collection in Amarillo, Texas New Zealand gallerists’ collection Tolar Schultz artworks are in collections in four countries


TOLAR SCHULTZ August 2019 Contact: UK PHONE: +44 07543 376 348

Publication © 2019 TOLAR SCHULTZ and Asor Bus Productions, USA All rights reserved Essays © 2019 Michael Walters Photography by POVEY|SCHULTZ studio Catalogue designed and published by AsoR BuS Productions, USA


Profile for tolarschultz

Tolar Schultz current works - August 2019  

artist Tolar Schultz current paintings catalog August 2019

Tolar Schultz current works - August 2019  

artist Tolar Schultz current paintings catalog August 2019