Delightfully Challenging

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. | "Seagate" by Randall Stoltzfus
“Seagate” Acrylic dispersion on recycled polymer cnavas, 60 by 96 inches, on display this past summer in Chautauqua Institution’s Strohl Art Center

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

The rich blue and gold of Stoltzfus’ large, painted abstractions draw viewers into the gallery | Installation view of "The Next chapter" at Chautauqua Institution's Strohl Art Center in July 2016 | Photo courtesy The Chautauquan Daily