"No neon signs or architectural elements are allowed in the City with the exception of a two (2) square foot “OPEN” neon sign allowed for commercial businesses.”
-Ojai Municipal Code, Article 16, Sec. 10-2.1609
Porch Gallery Ojai presents Article 16: Selected works by Lisa Schulte. G. James Daichendt, writing for KCET’s Artbound series, described Schulte as someone possessing “the unique ability to use a medium that is inherently cold and isolating and create something warm and inviting.” Wrapping white neon around palm husks and sanded driftwood, Schulte creates elegant pieces of work that flip the original connotations associated with the materials. Rough branches become fetishized and sexy, while the neon, often considered the most garish and commercialized of materials, flows around the sculpture like glowing roots infusing grace and movement into the pieces.
Schulte’s ability to marry such diverse materials is particularly important at a time when division defines our relationships. Red vs. blue, local vs. tourist, native vs. immigrant; the conversation has become me vs. you. In Schulte’s hands there is no organic vs. neon; the varied elements flow together and become one. The result is not just a beautiful piece of art, but a hopeful lesson for the future.
Lisa Schulte has been creating neon for events and films in Los Angeles for more than 30 years, earning her the moniker “The Neon Queen.” She has exhibited her work in museums and galleries nationwide and has collaborated with contemporary artists such as RISK, Gregory Siff and Cleon Peterson hence merging genres of art and exposing her artistry to new audiences. In 2016, Schulte was commissioned by electric car company, Karma Automotive to create a sculpture inspired by light and nature that captured the essence of their brand. Born in Long Island, New York, Schulte currently lives and works in Los Angeles.