Artist Statement

Rhona Stern, abstract minimalist

Rhona Stern, abstract minimalist

I have been studying art for a very long time, almost from the beginning of my life. As Josh Goldberg, my teacher and mentor calls it, “a Painter’s Path”. It started with crayons, lots of colors and covering them all over in black, and scratching to see what lay beneath. It was a very primitive form of art, indeed. Much of this memory can be seen in my present work.

My”path” led me to Bologna, Italy and the Academia of Belle Arte. For four years, I walked the halls of this ancient school and museum, studying drawing, painting and etching and observing the magnificent collection of 14th and 15th century art. The famous painter, Giorgio Morandi, taught us etching. I only wish I had the foresight to acquire some of his work at the time. My next stop was Japan. I spent two years in Yokohama developing an eye for Asian art, the simplicity of the various forms and the beauty of the landscape. Studies included the art of sumi-e, pen and ink paintings using very specific measured strokes, and obtaining certification in the Ichiyo School of Flower Arranging.

I returned to the United States, and I graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Kenosha with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in terra-cotta sculpture of the human figure and ceramics. This tactile experience carried over to painting. Next, my keen interest in psychology and art led to an MA in Art Therapy from Goddard College in Vermont. My art therapy studies helped me to gain freedom of expression in my painting. I have also taken courses at the California College of Arts and Crafts where I studied working with acrylics and the application of various mediums. I have also studied with Alain Gavin, who has taught at the Art Institute of Chicago. He introduced me to the art of glazing in acrylics and a new way of creating different color structures.

As luck would have it, I came upon the work of Josh Goldberg in Tucson, Arizona, where I live during the winter months. Josh is a renowned abstract painter with whom I studied for ten years. Josh’s theories on painting were new to me. They have opened up a myriad of possibilities for me and are reflected in all of my paintings, particularly as they have encouraged me to innovate and experiment with new forms of minimal abstract expression.