Selected Reviews

"Terry Schutte works with gouache on paper to create images which interact in endless rituals of ambiguity and polarity. Using color only as an occasional emphasis, Schutte depends on the action of the line to establish tension between figures as well as the illusion of limitless space. Calligraphic lines suggest an oriental influence, which in fact is more strongly felt in the spatial arrangement of the forms. The possibility of attaining the illusion of large scale in small works is an important factor in the artist's concern with ambiguities. Into the overall flat surface of her work Schutte makes cuts, scratches and lines while building up the density of the paint to complete paintings she has described as realistic. Specific references combine with stored knowledge in works which are not realistic in a literal sense but which refer to intangible realities. The images come from dreams or from the mind's eye, the ideas flow constantly between the conscious and subconscious level of comprehension. Schutte's work is most noticeably influenced by abstract expressionism, although she feels a close kinship with the work of Miro, Goya and Matisse. In her own description: "My paintings deal with some specifics and a lot of generalities - how people relate to one another, alienation, contrasts, thick and thin lines, universalities. Paintings are not words. The inevitable way to describe them is to experience them."

Mary Stofflet, catalogue essay for "Three Bay Area Artists", University Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside.


Exhibitions Show Vitality of Abstract Expressionism

"Terry Schutte was born in New York and developed there as a painter, and her paintings at the Tom Luttrell Gallery (420 Sutter St., San Francisco) have clear affinities with the east. The composition, the apricot and beige palette, even some of the latent imagery recall deKooning, but the lighting and the more open, less threatened atmosphere recall the San Francisco Ab Ex of Jefferson, Hassel Smith, Lobdell and Elmer Bischoff.

Schutte's variation of Ab Ex is new because of its frank allusion to the human figure - a subject which was forbidden to the abstractionists from the 1940's, was revived by the rebellion of the Bay Area Figurative movement (to the consternation of East Coast painters and critics), was subsequently banished again by pure abstractionists, but which seems to take an easy place in the new abstract expressionism of painters like Schutte and Pia Stern. (The latter can be seen in a group show at the Eaton Schoen gallery.)

Schutte's work is strong and logical, balancing discipline and intuition to a disarmingly easy effect. Its one weakness in a show like this, is the lack of variety in the format."

Charles Shere, Tribune, Oakland, CA


Bay Area State of Mind Lives in New Abstracts

"Schutte's work is abstract expressionist in its fast drawing and thin, light coloring, but her forms always recall the oddly inconclusive cubism of Marcel Duchamp's few mature drawings and paintings - the faceted "Bride"series, which lost much vitality and mystery when they hardened into the later mechanistic Dada work.

Schutte's current titles have Mediterranean, often Algerian connotations - "Fez", "Calabash". The light is warm and brilliant and the drawing often alludes to figures in interiors - elusive, promising, aloof."

Charles Shere, TRIBUNE, Oakland, CA



"Terry Schutte's oil on paper paintings are firmly rooted in Abstract Expressionism. Broad swatches of color spill over into one another, as in the pastel dominated "Ma-at". In this work and others, a figurative contour is then overlaid. The roughness is reminiscent of deKooning's women, although stylistically dissimilar. This strategy is tentative here, but hints at captivating possibilities. (Kirk deGooyer Gallery)"

Robert Pincus, Los Angeles Times, LA, CA


Pursuit of Allusion

"As her first solo exhibition in the Bay Area, Terry Schutte has fifteen of her recent oil paintings on paper on view at Tom Luttrell Gallery. In a statement accompanying these paintings, Schutte discusses the allusive nature of the two-dimensional image - allusive but at the same time based upon illusion. Although nothing is really there, she asserts, something must be there "to eliminate from." This concept of the motivation that governs art would seem to lead logically to a reductive style of painting: one begins with an image that is an illusion, alluding to nothing but capable, through a process of elimination, of becoming - presumably - something. A purist might be driven to explore the idea of art itself by eliminating all image and illusion. Schutte, on the contrary, embraces illusion in an energetic pursuit of the allusive image.

The quarry of this pursuit turns out to be painterly abstractions of rather childlike and primitive forms and personages that are given mythological titles, and that emulate Miro and Gorky, but without the control, hard edges and conscious techniques of these two masters. Schutte's paintings are free and active - organic explorations of color, form and line as these emerge on the two-dimensional surface of the picture plane. The vitality of these explorations is undeniable, but most of the paintings are in muted, soft colors that do not seem to respond adequately to the strong emergent forms, altered images and lively lines. For this reason, those paintings are strongest that employ more bold and simple color schemes, especially those that create active negative space with large areas of black, as do Kronos and Durga which, with Ma-at, are the best of the group. The accuracy of this judgment is confirmed by black and white photographs of the muted paintings that are more powerful and enigmatic than the paintings themselves.

Those paintings whose initial allusive images are founded upon some personal relationship, such as is true of Sam and Me and Harry and Me, are more imitative than those that derive from and are "eliminated from" more impersonal and distant images. The transformation from the intimate seems more difficult for Schutte to make, and these paintings become at once more childlike and more superficial. One painting, however, Belili, although figurative in origin, transcends its representation to evolve into an act of motion and flight that is both playful and threatening.

The darker painting Kronos, which seems to take its origin from Goya's famous dark and ghastly depiction of Kronos devouring his children, produces a mood that effectively assesses this darker side of the human imagination. The balance between light and dark areas of this painting is so measured that the surface is truly torn apart in its division. Any allusions to the original that remain have been subjugated to the activity of the surface and are, indeed illusions of the beholder, although there is the suspicion that these are not as arbitrary as they seem.

All of these paintings would be greatly improved by a change of scale. They are small with the largest only 45" x 32". In fact, they seem to be studies for much larger canvases that would be truly impressive to see. The activity of larger surfaces, of course, is more difficult to sustain; but Schutte would do well to move on to bigger and better things."

Frank Cebulski, ARTWEEK, San Francisco, CA


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