The artists-X-change boX project

This new collaboration is something that matters to me that came out of the past spring and summer with all its unknown. It’s called artists-X-change. And it has just now become something that you can participate in. 

The BoX Project by artists X change with print by Randall Stoltzfus opt
One of 20 unique curated box sets donated to the Brooklyn Arts Council by artists-X-change

A Collective

Artists-x-change was set up by its core members as a collective. Loosely held. But with the clear goal of figuring out a way to help other artists in need.

The idea behind our first foray, called the BoX Project, is simple. 

10 artists each donated 10 artworks. The only requirement was a maximum size of 5 by 7 inches. From this pool of 100 artworks, a set of 20 special boxes were curated. No two are the same. Each contains 5 artworks. And each is to be used as a special gift in return for an act of charity on behalf of other artists.

Brooklyn Arts Council

For this first project, we chose a partner organization to work with that we felt would do a better job of distributing resources than we could do ourselves. That partner organization is Brooklyn Arts Council, a local pillar of support in the place I call home. It is also an organization I have benefitted from personally though classes, portfolio reviews with curators, and exposure in times when that was scarce.

Real Gift Giving

As it is with real gift giving, there is some unknown here. The artists have made their gifts to the project knowing precious little about what it would become. Experienced artists grow comfortable with this. Creativity itself is an uncertain gift. Unusually, here that uncertainty is passed along to the collector as well, since there is something unknown about what will be received.  I’m hoping that this spirit of real gift-giving will continue full circle, bringing this project a special energy of it’s own.

You can learn more about the print I’ve donated to the project here: Thicket Print for the BoX Project

To learn more about the box project, visit https://artists-x-change.com

Brooklyn Arts Council has posted about the project here: https://www.brooklynartscouncil.org/news/introducing-artists-x-changes-box-project

Solo Exhibit: Widening

BLANK SPACE
November 14, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Reception: Thursday, November 14, 5 – 8 pm

30 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014
map

Tel. 212-924-2025
info@blankspaceart.com

The paintings Rainmaker, Through, Held, and the 8 by 10 foot painting Omega hang at Blank Space Gallery for Randall Stoltzfus' 2019 solo exhibit Widening
Left to right: Rainmaker, Through, Held, and the 8 by 10 foot diptych Omega hang at Blank Space in NYC

From the press release:

Widening represents a new chapter in Randall Stoltzfus’ painting. Originally trained as a landscape artist, Stoltzfus turned towards abstraction in the early 2000s as a way of engaging more directly with light as a subject. These early works, which were steeped in both a personal and historical relationship to his Mennonite upbringing, were often dark and monochromatic and built upon the polarity of light and shadow and complementary colors. As he developed his distinctive style of organic abstraction, which uses thousands of hand painted circles to build the larger image, his palette expanded and the landscapes and natural references of his earlier work began to fall further into the background. For Stoltzfus there are now two relationships at work in his paintings: a poetic relationship to the physical subject and a direct relationship the sensation of light itself.
 
While his work is rooted in tradition and a deep understanding of art history, his technique lends itself to a multiplicity of readings that are subjective to the viewer. Stoltzfus likens his style to “pulling focus” wherein the subject he is capturing is diffused to a point beyond direct representation and is rendered as halos of refracted light. In this, there is a historical relationship with the impressionist masters and pointillism in that he is painting a psychical depiction of the world. But, where the impressionists sought to convey a scene through blocks of color Stoltzfus renders his building blocks empty; rings of light that have no center and the resulting marks are free to play off each other and with the viewer’s eye. By doing this, not only does he open his work up for interpretation but he allows the viewer to see how each piece is constructed as the rings are stacked from the background to the foreground leaving a visible history of each mark made.

For Widening, Stoltzfus has created compositions that explode from within; bursts of light radiate from the center of the canvas and dissipate towards the edges. Omega, his largest work in two decades, takes the physical composition of a rainbow as its inspiration and expands the palette to encompass the visible spectrum. Each transition between the eight color bands is host to hundreds of minor movements built of his signature rings and the composition furthers the arc of a rainbow into a larger circle encompassing the shadowy silhouette of a tree. The light comes from behind the shadow but is not obscured by it; instead it is transformed into something larger and more vibrant than would have been visible otherwise. As Stoltzfus put it himself in a recent interview, “I am trying to make images that communicate that each of us is a part of something bigger. That we are cooperating whether we know it or not. And that light surrounds each one of us and whatever this is we are a part of.”

20-21 @ CityFolk Gallery

Blue and Gold | This ultramarine blue and gold leaf painting is composed many hand painted circles evocative of a summer night | The oil painting titled Vigil by Randall Stoltzfus on studio wall
“Vigil” hangs on white brick wall in the Brooklyn studio

I’m happy to announce a group exhibit with CityFolk Gallery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Titled 20 -21, this is the gallery’s focus exhibit for artists who joined the gallery this year, and a preview of the 2020-21 season.

My connection with this show is special. This part of Pennsylvania is where one part of my family is from; kinship runs deep. So showing there is kind of like going home. I’m excited to share what I’ve been working on here in Brooklyn with my friends and family in this historic American city.

CityFolk Gallery is located in the heart of Lancaster’s vibrant gallery row. I’ll be present at the gallery on Saturday, October 5th from 11AM-4PM as part of the fall Lancaster Artwalk. This free, self-guided art celebration of the downtown galleries includes 30-plus venues. So you are coming from a little farther away, there will be plenty to see and do. If you are in the area, stop by and say hello.

CityFolk Gallery
146 North Prince Street
Lancaster, PA 17603

phone: 717.393.8807

Open Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-5pm
Open First Fridays: 10am-9pm

Art for the Peace & Justice Support Network at MennoCon19

One of my Lost Rainbow prints made the trip to Kansas City this summer to benefit the Peace & Justice Support Network, the peace and justice office of Mennonite Church USA.

Lost Rainbow #3 was featured on page 2 of the August 19 issue of PJSN’s biannual newsletter, Dove Tales.

Page 2 of the August 19 issue of PJSN's biannual newsletter, Dove Tales features a reproduction of Lost Rainbow and a description of PJSN's participation in MennoCon2019

Five Questions for Artslant.com

This feature was published on Artslant just a few weeks before the site said goodbye. I’ve copied the original article here for safekeeping.

Lost | Seeing a rainbow at sunset inspired this painting by Randall Stoltzfus | A colorful, mysterious artwork made of many shimmering layers of circular brushstokes
Lost“. Acrylic dispersion and iridescence on polymer canvas, 37 x 60 inches.

This week we seek answers from Randall Stoltzfus

What are you trying to communicate with your work?

I am trying to make images that communicate that each of us is a part of something bigger. That we are cooperating whether we know it or not. And that light surrounds each one of us and whatever this is we are a part of.

What is an artist’s responsibility?

Personally, my responsibility as an artist is to reduce suffering. So I try to make something that is compassionate on some level. Maybe aesthetic choices can make an object compassionate? But I’ve also been trying to think of other angles on this. Most recently I’ve been working with canvases that appear traditional but are made with consciously sourced or recycled materials.

Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?

I’m an avid amateur gardener, so I get to coax some amazing things from the earth. It doesn’t always work out. I don’t make make the plants, of course. But I do get to be pretty involved in making a space for their lives to take place in, however briefly. 

Last summer I finally got a sacred lotus to bloom in my Brooklyn backyard. It’s maybe a little bit of a stretch to have that plant there, since daylight is limited by buildings on every side and it’s a little far north for lotus. It took a couple of years of learning, fending of eager raccoons, and just patience. 

But it all worked out and I even had a bloom that decided to open on the weekend. We had an opening reception for it, a garden party with coffee and bagels and some of our beautiful neighbors.

Here’s an early morning time-lapse video I made of the bloom we had the reception for:

Sacred Lotus Opens Time-lapse from Randall Stoltzfus on Vimeo.

What are you currently working on?

I’m excited about a series of paintings about rainbows that I’m working on right now. One of them is a big 10 foot diptych which is very fun but is also taking longer than expected. 

I saw several rainbows within a couple of weeks here in Brooklyn and so I tried to learn more about what I was seeing. The idea that the rainbow is happening across this vast field of round water droplets resonated for me. Maybe there was a relationship to the layers of circular brushstrokes I use to paint? I had to try it out.

Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?

Stanley Lewis http://www.bettycuninghamgallery.com/artists/stanley-lewis

Douglas Witmer http://douglaswitmer.com

Alyse Rosner https://alyserosner.com

 

Originally posted on Artslant.com by The Artslant Team on 4/1/2019

Luminous and Vivid

20th Annual Postcards from the Edge

I made a special miniature, reversed and adapted version of my new “Lost Rainbow” print just so I could send it into this year’s edition of Postcards from the Edge. Which means that someone with sharp eyes will take it home for $85 and support a good cause to boot. But even if the little rainbow I made stays lost, they’ll wind up with something fantastic; there’s a lot of beautiful stuff in this fundraiser.

POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE

Hosted by Visual AIDS at Gallery 524

January 19-21, 2018

Over 1,400 original postcard-sized artworks!

Visual Aids LogoPostcards From the Edge offers a rare opportunity to acquire original, postcard-sized artwork from internationally renowned and emerging artists for only $85 each. Offered on a first-come, first-served basis, over 1400 works are exhibited anonymously, and the identity of the artist is revealed only after the work is purchased. With the playing field leveled, all participants can take home a piece by a famous artist, or one who’s just making their debut in the art world. Nonetheless, collectors walk away with something beautiful, a piece of art they love!

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