BLANK SPACE is pleased to present "Backlight," a solo exhibition of new paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Randall Stoltzfus.
As the exhibition title suggests, Randall Stoltzfus is a painter of (and with) light, perhaps the ultimate concern for centuries of Western painters. Stoltzfus draws upon and expands the tradition with a uniquely personal, meditative and mystical approach. He deals with the idea in ways that use both the painted illusion of light within the painting as well as the physical effect of light on the painting. He paints slowly and intuitively, combining a minimalist-inspired, anonymous repetitive circular mark with a romantic attitude and a masterfully calibrated palette of colors that range from near-blacks made of deep blue or brown through rich greens and blinding yellow-white.
Of his recent work, the artist has said: "The circular mark-making and the sensation of light emanating from behind the plane is what the paintings have been about for a while. The layer that's new for me in this body of work is color. There's intense color. I've always worked to achieve as much dynamic range in the image as I could pull off in terms of dark and light. But here we've got that happening in color as well. Complementary contrasts--bluest blue to brightest orange--what happens in the subtle passages is both thrilling and terrifying."
Contemplating a Randall Stoltzfus painting, one may experience light as either radiating outward or decaying within. Whereas past work suggested nighttime landscapes or wooded thickets with light in the distance, the work for the BLANK SPACE show is more abstract with larger passages of brilliant color coming forward in space. The painting Morir Soñando, which translates as "Die Dreaming," is a 4-foot by 5-foot work in the show that dramatically exemplifies this approach with its mandala-like composition of jubilant oranges and yellows dissolving into a central area of bright blue.
Randall Stoltzfus was born in 1971 and raised in rural Virginia. He studied painting at American University in Washington, DC. Since then his work has been shown internationally, including solo exhibitions in New York, Virginia, and in Italy, where he was an artist in residence at an active insane asylum. His work is in several public collections, including the Centro Pari Opportunitá (Palazzo Penna, Perugia, Italy), Alliance Bernstein (New York, NY), and the DC Council on the Arts and Humanities (Washington, DC) as well as numerous private collections. His work has also been reproduced in a variety of books, magazines and newspaper articles.