It’s always intriguing to see what three distinctive visual sensibilities might dream up in collaboration, jamming on the same page or, in this case, the same wall space. The latest collabo can be found at Park Life Gallery, which brought together Andrew Schoultz, Chris Ballantyne and Mark Mulroney, three painters with local connections, for a site-specific mural that touches on our breezy Bagdad by the Bay.
Touches, however, is too gentle a word for what these artists do. These three pop-culture-imbued art-makers instead exploded the various motifs that mark their work: the deconstructed architecture and urban/suburban landscapes of Ballantyne, who received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and the fleshy, fluid pop subversion of Mulroney, who has clearly been influenced by Bay Area underground comic-book artists. The unifying factor toiling in tandem with the two New Yorkers: San Francisco artist Schoultz and his almost psychedelic patterning and cartoon-inspired, street-level tableaus that jump off directly from the Mission School of SF art-making.
In the threesome’s mural (accompanied by a few smaller paintings), mountains, forests and water are juxtaposed with blockish buildings that seem to seethe within with Schoultz’s Spirograph-like patterns. Trees and skyscrapers snap, bleed and tumble in the background. Twin towers are overlaid with a single shadowy figure, rusty clouds and blades of fire -- images that evoke Tolkien, 9/11, and environmental disaster. It’s a provocative dreamscape that taps into distinctly millennial fears.
“Andrew Schoultz, Chris Ballantyne, Mark Mulroney: A Collaboration” runs through Oct. 11 at Park Life Gallery, 220 Clement St., SF. (415) 386-7275, www.parklifestore.com