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Roni Feldman: Shadowlighter

Posted by Jon Lapointe on 15 April 2011

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Armory Center for the Arts is pleased to present Shadowlighter, an exhibition of new work by Los Angelesbased painter Roni Feldman, located in the Armory’s Mezzanine Gallery. Organized by curator Sinéad Finnerty-Pyne, the exhibition will be on display from June 26 – September 11, 2011. A free public reception will take place on Saturday, June 25th, from 7-9pm.

Shadowlighter consists of works from two new series of airbrushed paintings. One untitled series consists of black-on-black paintings created with layers of matte and gloss paints. At first glance the surface of each painting appears to be a black, minimalist plane; but as viewers walk before the canvas the gloss paint seems to refract, revealing an elaborate representational composition of figures, like a drawing of a crowd by Bruegel the Elder. Depending upon light, time of day, and placement of the painting, the figures appear and dissolve, haunting the edge of visibility and perception.

Feldman’s other series, called the Albedo Paintings, was created with white paint on white fabric; these works use ultraviolet-reactive paint and are exhibited under black light. The imagery is invisible until displayed under black lights, which causes the white paint to appear dark and the UV sensitive fabric to glow, thus revealing a high-contrast yet seemingly vaporous emergence of figures.

In both series, Feldman forms tension between individual and crowd, uniqueness and difference, abstraction and representation. His paintings are dense whirlwinds of figures that celebrate, protest, consume, dance, and embrace – juxtaposed against others that mourn, drown, burn, and dissolve. The crowds evoke the power and ecstasy of unified intention alongside a descent into mob mentality. The images recall the utopian pursuit of 1960s psychedelia, van murals, tattoos, and other airbrushed art forms. Historically, the airbrush – with its potential for soft edges and colors – is often used to idealize. For Feldman, the airbrush is a tool used to create images that reveal a thin veil between utopia and dystopia, civilization and chaos.

Roni Feldman (b. 1980 Los Angeles, CA) earned his MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2008 and his BA from the College of Creative Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara in 2002. He has had solo exhibitions at Toomey-Tourell Fine Art, San Francisco, CA; L2Kontemporary, Los Angeles, CA; Wilson Street Gallery, Sydney, Australia; Peggy Phelps Gallery, Claremont, CA; and Sloan Fine Art, New York, NY.

The Armory Center for the Arts, in Pasadena, California, builds on the power of art to transform lives and communities through presenting, creating, teaching, and discussing contemporary visual art. The organization’s department of exhibitions mounts over 25 visual arts exhibitions each year at its main facility and in locations throughout the City of Pasadena. In addition, the Armory offers studio art classes and a variety of educational outreach programs to more than fifty schools and community sites. The Armory believes that an understanding and appreciation of the arts is essential for a well-rounded human experience and a civil community.

Roni Feldman: Shadowlighter is on view in the Mezzanine Gallery at the Armory Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Sunday, noon-5 p.m. $5 suggested donation. Armory members, students, and seniors are free. The Armory is easily accessible from the Gold Line Memorial Park Station in Pasadena. For information about Armory exhibitions and events, the public may call 626.792.5101 x122. or visit the Armory website at www.armoryarts.org


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