"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
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
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.
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
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,
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,
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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