British artist Roni Stretch was born in St. Helens, Merseyside, England in 1964 and attended the St.Helens College of Art and Design from 1982 until 1984. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. His work has been shown extensively in California since the 1990’s, including group shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art at the Geffen Contemporary Museum, The Westmont Museum of Art in Santa Barbara and the Santa Monica Museum of Art. His work has also been shown in solo exhibitions in New York, Santa Fe New Mexico, Sun Valley Idaho and an upcoming 20 year retrospective in London.
“My first response to Roni Stretch’s paintings was how extraordinarily exquisite and how original. I know of nothing quite like them in the history of modern, let alone traditional art- an ingenious, convincing integration of color field painting, minimalist structure, and photorealist portraiture,” writes Donald Kuspit. The New York-based art critic and author of numerous books, including the controversial “The End of Art.” also remarks that “Stretch’s paintings are subtle, eloquent masterpieces, carrying forward the tradition of pure painting while acknowledging the inevitability of human presence and vision.”
Stretch has pioneered the Dichromatic Process, exploring photorealistic under-paintings that emerge ghost-like from a void of color. His Dichromatic oil paintings are meticulously created by executing a layering process where by two different colors are alternately applied and built up over many weeks. The subjects play against a sharply lined border intended to ground each painting in the physical and force a visual meditation. The image is not so much painted over as optically embedded within the multiple layers of the alternating colors. Stretch’s work is a lesson in contradictions: photorealism and abstraction, light and dark, reality and altered states, smooth and rough textures all ultimately leading to an emotional experience.
Stretch’s works are held in numerous public collections in the U.S. and Europe and over 200 paintings are in private collections worldwide. Following an inclusion in Kuspit’s monumental California New Old Masters at Gallery C, the Pasadena Museum of California Art selected Stretch’s Shannon to complete their peerless permanent collection of California art. In 2005 he was included in the annual Fresh auction at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Stretch’s painting realized the highest dollar amount in over 300 up-coming and established artists that year. He has recently been included in the Museum of California Design’s permanent collection and has also served as the Official Artist for The People’s Choice Awards and The American Music Awards.
Philanthropically, Stretch has raised thousands of dollars for the Venice Family Clinic, Aids Research Alliance, The Magic Johnson Foundation, The Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and The Make A Wish Foundation to name but a few.