‘Océan de Terre’s Take on Formalism Art Style

Photo Credit/ Elizabeth Deczynski Rothfuss's unique art delivers exotic, geometric visuals meant to be pleasant and compelling while not delivering a "message."

Elizabeth Deczynski 

Contributing Writer 

The Madelon Powers Gallery welcomes local artist, Will Rothfuss, who will be displaying his latest collection of work “Océan de Terre” from Oct. 1 to Oct. 25, 2019.

“Océan de Terre” is a series of pieces made up of interlocking and overlapping lines created from reused and recycled materials like T-shirts, magazine clippings, and books.

“My work isn’t really ‘message’ work, which I realize puts me in a small minority,” Rothfuss said via email. “It’s formalism, meaning the primary focus is to explore and try to find original forms, compositions, and use of space and color.”

Rothfuss revealed that “Océan de Terre” is loosely inspired by the French poet, Guillaume Apollinaire, who served in World War I and was also an inspiration for many modern artists.

The artist said that some of the lines in the poem personally resonated with him, such as “I have built a house in the middle of the Océan,” because his work is very architectural, and, “Its windows are the rivers flowing from my eyes,” because the eyes are the source of art.

“I often use poetry as a starting point,” Rothfuss said. “Although, I don’t make conscious decisions based on it. It is often only after the fact that I can see how it relates.”

While “Océan de Terre” is considered to be geometric in form, according to the artist’s statement, it is surrealistic in conception.

“Any meaning accrues unconsciously from the manipulation of the form,” Rothfuss said in his statement. “My current abstract practice is about the perfection of form. More specifically, searching for forms that organize or curate large amounts of visual data in geometric or architectural structures.”

Will Rothfuss has over 40 years of experience in the art industry which focuses on geometric abstraction with fabrics, collage, mixed media, assemblage, and hyper-realism paintings. He studied art at the Art Students League of NYC and later at Cornell University.

Photo Credit/ Elizabeth Deczynski
Will Rothfuss’s Art

“Make the best art you can, always,” Rothfuss said in his message for ESU student artists. “Realize that making art isn’t just about inspiration, it takes a lot of discipline and hard work. Try to constantly grow, learn, and explore ideas and find new forms for your ideas – don’t be a complacent artist who repeats oneself. Don’t worry about being hip, or shocking, or trendy – look for universal truths and timeless forms.”

Rothfuss now has a local artmaking practice just minutes from ESU near the Delaware Water Gap, PA.

The gallery is open to both students and the public at no cost. The gallery will be open on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Wednesday and Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

“Océan de Terre” will be on display from Oct. 1 to Oct. 25, 2019.

For more information on the exhibit, please contact the art department via email at esuarts@esu.edu or reach out to Will Rothfuss at his email willrothfuss@gmail.com

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