Sometimes an artist has to hold back. There is an instinct to overdo things in a work, but Leonora Wolfeld exercises restraint on her monoprints even when she pursues overprinting them. “I have a tendency to want to be perfect. But I know if it is perfect it won’t be a successful painting, because anyone can do that.”
Wolfeld’s monoprints are celebratory in nature. Just like cavemen painted everyday scenes, this artist is depicting moments she has either seen or felt, even though she admits there is no way to know where these impressions are channeling from. The renderings appear to be very flat, but the process is tactile and multifaceted: paint is applied to plexi, covered by paper and passed through a press. In works like “Fire Dancer” the background is different every time and irreplaceable because the texture changes with each print. That sense of the precious is almost palpable.
Wolfeld’s choice of color is instinctive. “Color is visceral. Some people work very much according to rules and I can’t do that. I don’t want to do that.” However, one thing she is looking for is contrast. Wolfeld enjoys when the color fields are almost dissident because of the compelling nature and the way they shock a viewer.
The monoprints are really very human paintings. They are exciting because their primitive nature speaks to us simply, yet they are sophisticated in that they connect us to our most basic levels. “You know what it is without it being spelled out.” They feel right perhaps because each of us connects to the feeling of being in a cave amidst those primordial renderings. For Wolfeld, the silhouettes offer a sense of reality without being real. And the viewer learns something in that.