Delightfully Challenging


The rich blue and gold of Stoltzfus’ large, painted abstractions draw viewers into the gallery. These glimmering works — some actually made with gold and palladium leaf — represent the modernist tradition. Indeed, like Kandinsky and Rothko before him, Stoltzfus seeks to represent through form and color the immaterial essence of pure spirit. In “Scarab,” he depicts a subtle luminosity emerging  from a dense network of blacks. In “After,” the glow is more assertive, and suggests the final blast of a fireworks display, its image reflected out across the surface of a dark lake. Each composition is built through a laborious process of painting one circle after another until the entire surface of the canvas has been encrusted with the repeated pattern. Some may find Stoltzfus’ repetition of a single form cold or mechanical, perhaps at odds with the artist’s larger goal; others may liken its repetitive logic to chanting or prayer.

— Patricia Briggs, The Chautauquan Daily