Cornelia Schulz 4 Nov — 16 Dec 2017 at the Patricia Sweetow Gallery in Oakland, United States


Octogenarian Cornelia Schulz continues to present a vibrant vigor unique to artists of any age. For over 46 years she has honed her skills in small format paintings of complex shape and color. Studying sculpture at Los Angeles County Art Institute in the 1950’s, Schulz learned 3-D modeling techniques in steel and wood which proved important in subsequent years. Her altered rectilinear shapes are hand built wood supports, stretched with canvas. Using a knife, Schulz slices and swirls paint into a complex brew of color, gestural oppositions and hair raising improbabilities. The paintings while clearly 2-D, hold the viewers attention as sculptural objects of unerring integrity, a unique distillation of intent and accident only a master can impart.

Kenneth Baker, who has reviewed every Cornelia Schulz exhibition since the 1990’s comments, “For some years, Schulz’s art seemed to build and comment on the project of activating paintings’ perimeters that connects Barnett Newman (1905-1970), Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and Elizabeth Murray (1940-2007), among others. Like those predecessors, Schulz treated the outer contours of a painting as a troubled boundary between what she could control and the uncontrollable, between domains of intended meaning and of misreading and chance.”

Cornelia Schulz is an important Northern California painter and educator who has influenced generations of artists. Her paintings are included in national and international collections. Schulz is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, where she taught for 30 years and twice chaired the Fine Art Department. In addition to the upcoming exhibition Cornelia Schulz is included in About Abstraction: Bay Area Women Painters, at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA, through December 17th. “Political conversations have turned a renewed spotlight on women and their power and influence on every corner of society, including the arts. In the spirit of continued discovery, About Abstraction: Bay Area Women Painters celebrates 16 Bay Area women artists, emerging and established, who have worked in abstraction for years.”