RONI FELDMAN

The Age of Exploration

 

Viewing art is an act of contemplative discovery.  It is akin to exploration or treasure hunting, except the riches lie in inspiring meaning and unexpected form.  My latest paintings depict famous explorers and adventurers. Other pieces include places I have traveled to, plan to visit, or am forbidden from seeing. All of the works are airbrushed with matte acrylic against metallic grounds, but include different exploration of paint.  This not only requires me to be perpetually inventive, but fills each canvas with unexpected treasures, partially burying the iridescent imagery beneath and prompting viewers to move about, look closely, and become active visual explores themselves. 

This body of work came out of a desire to forge new paths of thinking, but such exploration carries certain risks.  While the explorers in my paintings took on great adventures, not all of them survived their travels.  Some became tragically lost, such as Shackleton, Earhart, or McCandless.  That is the risk of stepping into the wilds.  It can change you, or destroy you.  When taken out of our comfort zone, or impressed by something new, the moment is heightened.  I challenge myself with almost every painting to attempt new materials or techniques, often intuitive ones, leaving the path open to discover something better than I intended.  Many of the marks are derived from the colors I see when I close my eyes to think or meditate, merging both inner and outer exploration.  However, this intuitive, risk-taking process leads to some failures.  Not every painting meets my aspirations, so a certain amount of works are destroyed, never to arrive at their destination. 

More than just Pluralistic tourism, my process prompts attention to difference and detail.  These paintings are less about where I traveled to or who I painted, but the journey the eye takes through the composition.  I have had epiphanies on the banks of the Ganges as well as before a powerful work of art.  I pursue exploration as both process and content, because when we are taken out of our comfort zone, or are impressed by something new, the moment is heightened.  We pay attention, creating an opportunity for self-reflection.