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.
Laura Korman Gallery is pleased to exhibit artists Cara Barer, Heather Carisch, James Lecce, Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Maureen McQuillan, Kristina Quinones, and Randall Stoltzfus in the group exhibition, SPECTRUM…
SPECTRUM brings together seven artists from across the country with vastly different practices, who are united by their intrepid handling of color as an evocative agent of expression.
Oscillating between abstraction and representation, Randall Stoltzfus uses the circle as a basis for his practice. Conjuring up visions of Seurat’s neo-Impressionist Pointillist paintings and Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Stoltzfus intricately builds layers of multicolored circular patterns with oil, adding carefully selected pigments and gold leaf to produce images that seem to glow from within. These abstract landscapes at once reference the macro and the micro, as Stoltzfus breaks up the picture plane into a myriad of mesmerizing forms that taken from afar form a single cohesive image.
I have several paintings in this group exhibit at Chautauqua Instutution’s Strohl Art Center. I spent two formative summers at the School of Art at Chautauqua, one studying with Stanley Lewis and a then a second as an employee. The place and the amazing teachers and peers I met while there made those two summers high points in my journey to becoming a professional artist. It is an honor to be included in this exhibition.
VACI has been the starting point for hundreds of now established artists. Generally we meet them for one brief summer as they start out, but what happens next? This exhibition of works by five alumni from the Chautauqua School of Art, who have gone on to successful careers as artists begins to answer that question.
Five months of hand-painted circles on an eight foot canvas are compressed into these two minutes. I made this video as a diy instant replay for myself, hoping to learn something that will make me a better painter. The resulting clip is fascinating for several dramatic changes to the painting and the many layers of paint it reveals.
Music is a Library of Congress field recording:
Title: Devil’s dream
Contributor Names: Mann, Thomas (performing on hammered dulcimer) Cowell, Sidney Robertson (collector)
Archive of Folk Culture (Library of Congress)
Created / Published: 1937.
View selected paintings in this exhibit: #clearing
From the press release:
Drawing on the natural world, his Mennonite upbringing, and paint itself as sources of inspiration, Stoltzfus employs an expanded palette of textures and pigments to enrich the physical presence and felt experience of each painting. The accumulation of his signature circular mark-making results in an organic structure and flowing patterns, evoking ethereal atmosphere. Layers of simple shapes and gentle movement imbue the paintings with an inner intensity.
In Sightline, from its brilliant orange and yellow tones to its deep shades of blue and black, a dynamic interplay of colors creates spatial and figural illusions. In Corona, discrete yet gestural accentuation in gold leaf suggests the infinite and sublime. These paintings are at once expressive and restrained, intricate and simple. Oscillating between representation and abstraction, Stoltzfus’ work generates light that is at once natural and preternatural.
Each close look at the work of Randall Stoltzfus, who calls himself, “a landscape painter with a little obsession with circles,” seems different than the last, especially when viewed in person.
— Samuel Harwood, Santa Monica Mirror