Cornelia Schulz’s high rise oil paintings defy the structural limits of oil paint. Even the best photo reproduction fails to impart the physical and spiritual authority of her small, shaped, chromatic paintings. Schulz has evolved a contemporary synthesis of Abstract Expressionist painting, such as the likes of her San Francisco Bay Area contemporaries, Jay DeFeo and early Joan Brown. Her masterful manipulation of paint, yielding to the subtly shaped support, is an incessant call and response forming high and flat passages, a testament to her vision, skills and willingness to risk failure and loss.
“Not all abstract painting spurs me to its defense as something spiritually sustaining and necessary, as Schulz’s work does. Her art fits within an American lineage descended from a pivotal decade, roughly mid 1950s to mid 1960s, during which the ambiguous formal limits of paintings and sculpture, and of their reach, were freighted with larger questions of art’s self-definition and of the values that a wider culture wished to ascribe to it.” (Kenneth Baker, “On Fire,” Cornelia Schulz 2021 – 2018)
PSG had our first exhibition with Cornelia Schulz in 1998. Schulz (b. 1936) lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her early education in the arts began at the Los Angeles County Art Institute in 1954 through 1957, the heyday of the California Ceramics Revolution. She studied sculpture in clay and wood with Renzo Fenci (1914 – 1999), and drawing from Herbert Jepson (1908 –1993). She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting (1959) and her Master of Fine Arts in welded steel sculpture (1961) from the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). Schulz became the first woman Chair of the University of California Davis Department of Art from 1998 to 1992, she retired as Professor Emeritus in 2002 after 34 years.