Artist Statement of Jason Rohlf:
Curious and reluctant are two of the many words I enjoy using to describe my work. They list underneath others like precarious, delicate, abashed, and recessive. These words have all been lent to the pieces over the years. I couldn’t pinpoint where words like hesitant and looking outward overlap, but they do. It is my hope that this body of work continues to gather words that vary as much as the experiences gained in creating each painting.
As an artist I would like to think the paintings are developing into an ever-present outlet for me to share the discoveries each day brings to the studio. Both the tone of the work and the paint texture used to create it continue to evolve as an endless stream of influences have their voice in my art. On a typical studio day each surface will be completely reworked and often scraped down to reveal earlier efforts. This allows me to have little regard for the preciousness of a single element, but to realize the wealth of all previous marks. The end result is a visual testament to all the efforts and their essential contributions to the whole of the work.
My work has been exhibited in many different environments: locations that range from the smoke and conversations of neighborhood cafes, to the neutral cool of downtown galleries. Within each distinct environment, it is my intention that the pieces are to be seen an extended number of times, and that the viewer’s interpretation be allowed to change. It has often been the case that a painting is shown in different spaces and the input from each is very different. This variety has come to be essential in my search to understand my own efforts with the art.
The future of the work will continue on as many paths as it can find. My challenge will be to continue to recognize them, and to provide all the necessary elements as needed. I can’t claim to understand the importance of any single accomplishment, but as opportunities continue to develop this approach keeps me more curious than ever.
To view a video of Jason Rohlf speaking about his work recently posted on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel arts blog.