Excavation, on vellum
An imagined codex full of repeated glyphs in the manner of ancient texts.
As I reflect on my life as a painter, I must try to reconstruct what got me here. I think the most obvious stimulus must have been my work as a director and lighting director for countless plays and productions. I have always been attracted to the forms and rhythms of light. And painting with light has perhaps been my secret love for decades. Even though the mixing methods of light and pigment are different, the process of seeing the effect and shape of light connects both media. Then again, as a director, seeing the stage as a plenum/frame whose space must be animated by composition, picturalization, movement and narrative…it has been a natural transition for me to venture into painting for the last ten years. Theatre is such a communal and public art form. In opposition, the world of the painter’s atelier is a private world and acts as a counterbalance to that aspect of my life. Obviously, painting does not need the intermediary actions of another to be one’s agent of expression like theatre often requires. Mimesis probably exists in painting, but it has a different guise.
TribeLA Magazine Acrostic Interview with Robert Soffian.3
Energy: What fires you up?
I cherish my time in the studio by myself just working. That’s the space to experiment and work out the formalistic issues I have been following. Usually I am excited by internal fixations rather than things in the objective world. I love color and movement and playing with figures in action. Also learning new techniques and discovering different ways to use materials is my joint.
Los Angeles: Where is your favorite place in Los Angeles? Where would you take visitors? If you could defend the city in one sentence to someone who doubts it, what would you say?
For me the light in Los Angeles is its greatest attribute. It is wide and sharp and I like that. There are so many wonderful places to visit. As of today, I think I would take new visitors to the top of Mt. Washington. It is peaceful and lovely there and you can see the whole city. The place is not crowded and certainly, a spot that is unexpected in this bustling metropolis. Los Angeles is a city that people have lots of prejudices about. However, once they live here they see that is a generous town. People are usually working in creative fields and are open to collaboration and networking. It is not snobby. There is an open vibe here because you never know who might be the next innovator that grabs the world’s attention. I love how diverse and multi-cultural the city is. The restaurant scene is beyond compare cheap, authentic and ubiquitous. I didn’t mention the wonderful architecture that characterizes each community.
If you missed the first few days of Robert Soffian as Artist of the Week, click links below: