- by Kelly Skeen
- February 1st, 2016
Rosenberg’s complex acrylic abstractions vibrate with vivid repetitions of color, shape, and wandering lines. Intricate patterns created in a reverse painting style on the back of acrylic panels are often built around geometric shapes, while others are completely free flowing. As a result, Rosenberg’s paintings become meditations that allow viewers to resonate with the spirit and energy in which they were created.
“While I work, I try to keep my logical and academic mind at bay,” explains Rosenberg (aka Tom Ross.) “Instead, I intuitively choose colors and patterns. Each painting session seems to be an exercise in letting go. Fairly soon after beginning a piece, I lose awareness of time and place, almost as if I’m entering my own meditative state.”
Known to most as Tom Ross, the Santa Fe artist has adopted his family name of “Rosenberg” for this body of abstract work. He inherited the name from his Polish father, a Holocaust survivor who died when Rosenberg was 16 years old. The name was changed and lost during the war, but Rosenberg reclaimed it after his father’s death. He now signs his work with a visual symbol of its translation, “rose mountain.”
“I choose to use my family name for these paintings because it gives me a certain grounding,” says Rosenberg. “My painting name has no first name because in a certain sense, I feel like my art isn’t about ‘Tom’ who’s here right now; it’s about a whole lineage that has brought me to this point.”
While Rosenberg’s work serves as a personal connection to his father, his biggest influence in becoming an artist is credited to his mother. With an artistic flair and love of color, she took notice of her youngest son’s talent and encouraged his artistic pursuits. The vibrant and varied color palette in Rosenberg’s current paintings is in part inspired by her vivid and eccentric style, which permeated his childhood.
Our staff at Pippin Contemporary recently met with Rosenberg to discuss his paintings, process, and inspiration. His one-word titles put each piece in perspective and provide a mode for deeper contemplation and interpretation. Below is a sampling of Rosenberg’s current paintings as well as musings from the artist.
Unforeseen, 30×120″ acrylic/acrylic panel
“When I completed Unforeseen, I came to interpret it as a transition piece traveling through changing realms. Perhaps ultimately a spiritual journey where one passes through the depths of mysterious and alien waters. Surprisingly, and when least expected, there is a sudden resurfacing into a new world, a new life of hope, where one’s soul is unfolding and blossoming.
The branches on the right side of the fourth panel match up to to the branches on the left side of the first panel – almost as if it is a continuous loop. And the center of the rose on the right side has a nautilus like center…it’s spiral echoing the theme of the circle of life.
The rose did not start out as a rose for me. I was originally painting patterns that were inspired by lapping waves on the beach. But these designs began to take on the form of petals emerging as a full blossomed rose silhouetted against mountains…like the symbol I sign my paintings as a tribute to the Rosenberg name.”
Impulse, 36×12″ acrylic/acrylic panel
“I saw the orange paint and it grabbed me – I felt an impulse to add it, which really changed the piece. It has vibrating qualities and light spots that could represent some sort of life form not necessarily of this realm.”
Glory, 48×48″ acrylic/acrylic panel
“I painted this piece after a visit to the aspens. I was searching for that patch of color that was the most intense and saturated. The word glory came to me; I was looking for that particular leaf having that particular day where it shines above the others in its full glory.”
“In this painting, the tree blends into its background. Oneness is not only having the strength and solidity to be by yourself, but also being interconnected to everything around you.”