Ron Ehrlich paints what he feels, not what he sees. His recent body of work DRUNKEN HORSES, which includes 14 oil and wax paintings on wood, is case in point. Each work contains two parts: abstract expressionist painting that occupies the majority of the surface and a horse that is rendered expressionistically in the center of the panel. Ehrlich describes these paintings as self-portraits. The horse- with its strength and grace, beauty and wildness- becomes an alter-ego for the artist, representing a source of power that has come through struggle.
Experiences abroad are highly influential in shaping Ron Ehrlich's work. Japan is of special significance, where the artist spent a year in a Buddhist monastery and then four more years studying ceramics in Bizen province. There Ehrlich gained an affinity for Japanese aesthetics and the principal of wabi-sabi, which values the imperfect, asymmetrical and irregular over its opposites. Also, the extensive study of ceramics is still evident in the surfaces of his paintings which are modeled after the glazes he discovered in Japan. As ceramics undergo a firing to achieve a transformation in the material, so to do Ehrlich's paintings which are torched with a small flame. Through this process each painting achieves a unique richness and luster created through his combination of oil and wax. While there is a lot of the artist's biography that makes its way into the work, Ehrlich believes that each painting should stand alone and able to form an emotional bond with the viewer. In addition to his research abroad, Ron Ehrlich studied painting and ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Rhode Island School of Design.