Light as Circular Figures: Painting by Randall Stoltzfus

A painting by Randall StoltzfusCorona, acrylic dispersion with gold leaf on recycled polymer canvas

Randall Stoltzfus grew up in rural Virginia and later studied painting in Washington, D.C. His current practice is focused on detailed landscape paintings that view light as circular figures, creating paintings that sit somewhere between abstraction and figuration.


A painting with many overlapping circles of a blue gradientStorybook, acrylic dispersion with gold leaf on recycled polymer


Stoltzfus’ method of dividing the space of the canvas into numerous overlapping circles of paint is almost reminiscent of Chuck Close’s cellular painting method. Seen up-close, the circles are actually quite textural, raised slightly from the surface of the canvas while the dark, tree-like forms of the backgrounds are as flat as the shadows that they imitate. Each circle seems like an individual lens flare, a moment of bright, haloed light, to make each painting look like a landscape seen through a window covered in rain drops.


Stoltzfus’ compartmentalization of light also reminds me of the work of Dennis Ekstedt. In some cases, too, Stoltzfus creates his circles in increasing density toward the center of the canvas, producing a series of halos that in turn form one, huge and inescapable halo. 


An abstract painting composed of orange circlesPsyche, acrylic dispersion on polymer canvas

Images courtesy of Randall Stoltzfus

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
Explore more artworks

Become a featured artist

You can't be featured if you don't submit!
40,000 people are waiting to discover your artwork today.