Going in Circles

His meditative, repetitive circular patterns are hand painted in oils, adding layers of gold leaf and other materials until the surfaces evolve their own unique texture and depth.

Stoltzfus was brought up in the Mennonite community and he spent time as artist in residence at an insane asylum in Italy. Perhaps these experiences influenced his work, which to me feels contemplative, peaceful and nature-based.

— Sarah A. Spitz, Santa Monica Daily Press

Solo Exhibit: Penumbra

Laura Korman Gallery
Bergamot Station Arts Center, Santa Monica
March 8 – May 14, 2016
Public Reception: Saturday, March 19, 2016, 1-4 p.m.

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Wold, 2015. Acrylic dispersion on polymer canvas, 37 x 60 inches.
Wold, 2015. Acrylic dispersion on polymer canvas, 37 x 60 inches.

View selected paintings in this show: #penumbra

Laura Korman Gallery is pleased to exhibit artist Randall Stoltzfus in the gallery’s forthcoming exhibition, PENUMBRA.

A penumbra is defined as incomplete or partial shadow. In astronomy, it refers to the shadow cast on the earth by the moon in a partial eclipse. Brooklyn-based artist Randall Stoltzfus translates these natural phenomena in his current body of work. Celestial blue circles of cerulean and deep cobalt are layered and repeated, dispersed by a spectrum of soft white, yellow and black circles suggestive of dim shadows and illuminated horizon lines. “My paintings take light as subject, and by necessity shadow is what I need to describe that light,” says Stoltzfus. These painted fields of circular marks also echo the rings of light found in the shadow patterns beneath trees during a solar eclipse – a visual metaphor that Stoltzfus maintains as an artistic touchstone.

Stoltzfus’ meditative process begins slowly – compositions develop over months, and even years as controlled, circular layers of oil, hand mixed pigments, and gold or palladium leaf are added over time. Abstracted landscapes and figures are illuminated and obscured in a push and pull of darkness and light as Stoltzfus builds visible texture. He compares his meticulous technique to the layering of scrim, a strong, coarse fabric, allowing the work to become a sum of its layers. In paintings like After, the effect is phantasmagoric – white and subtle ochre gold circles emerge from an abyss of blue as if illustrating the memory of a hazy dream. Other works reveal slightly more tangible references – in Penumbra, the moon’s dominating presence seemingly illuminates a dark forest of trees over an expansive eight-foot canvas. Yet, Stoltzfus’ subjects remain largely enigmatic.

Sight and perception are intrinsic to Stoltzfus’ thoughtful process. “Our perception is … always partial, and always collective in a way we sometimes find difficult to acknowledge,” says Stoltzfus. “We see individual things, less often aware of the broader condition of light and shadow that make this possible. The sources that power our sight dwarf what we actually comprehend.”

PENUMBRA is an intimate study of light and the physiological response. Drawing reference from the color field painters Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, as well as the textured works of abstract expressionist Richard Pousett-Dart, Stoltzfus engages directly with his audience’s vision for a response that is at once physical and emotional. His paintings defy the two-dimensionality of the canvas to create visual narratives of wonder and mystery.

Coast to Color

January 7 – March 5, 2016

Reception: Saturday, January 16, 5-8 p.m.

Laura Korman Gallery
Bergamot Station Arts Center
2525 Michigan Avenue, Suite D-2
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 828-1883


View selected paintings in this show: #coast2color

From the press release:

Laura Korman Gallery is pleased to present COAST TO COLOR, a group exhibition featuring artists Cara Barer, Jordan Eagles, James Lecce, Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Maureen McQuillan, Katherine Rohrbacher, and Randall Stolzfus. The exhibition is on view from January 7 through March 5, 2016 with a public reception on Saturday, January 16, 5-8 p.m.

Representing artists from across the east and west coasts, COAST TO COLOR delivers a vibrant selection of color-intensive works from seven artists that challenge the limitations set forth by traditional media to bring forth expressive ignitions of color.

coast (verb): “to continue to move or advance after effort has ceased; keep going on acquired momentum.”

Drawing reference from Pointillist techniques, Randall Stoltzfus builds continuous, intricately layered circular patterns with oil, adding carefully selected pigments, gold leaf, and other media to produce abstract horizons of deep blue and white. From afar, this textured layering produces a celestial glow of nearly distinguishable forms that emerge from indigo shadows. Continue reading “Coast to Color”