Taney Roniger’s Marking-By-Voiding
Taney Roniger, Inscape Series (Scape #1), 2014. Punctures and iridescent stainless steel paint on paper lit from the sides, 53″ x 40″
Taney Roniger is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in a number of venues, including The Pera Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, The Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, LA, The Dumbo Arts Festival in Brooklyn, NY; and StandPipe Gallery in New York City. She is the recipient of a number of honors and awards, including a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and several Yaddo fellowships. Roniger is currently a contributing art critic for The Brooklyn Rail, and her essays and reviews have appeared in a number of other publications. She is also Editor-in-Chief of Caldaria, an online forum for exploring the nexus of art, science, and the sublime. Since 2007 she has been on the faculty at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she earned her BFA in 1992. She holds an MFA from Yale University.
Taney Roniger, Bifurcations Series 2012/2014, Punctures and copper paint on wood panel, 30″ x 30″
Taney says about her creative process: “While I find the source of my inspiration in science and technology, my work is emphatically neither. It is art, and as such, it traffics in ambiguity and polysemy rather than in facts and declarative statements. In working with cellular automata, my process always begins with a period of close observation, of prolonged looking. After immersing myself in an image I am drawn to for some time, I begin a series of rough drawings in which I explore selected features of the original image – abstracting, altering, simplifying, and distilling as I go along. During the rough drawing phase, I am primarily trying to discover what it is about the chosen image that so captivates me and draws me to it. It is a period of intense physical activity coupled with acute concentration. Hand, eye, and mind deeply engaged, this phase of the process is a kind of exploratory thinking unlike any other. Eventually an “answer” is arrived at in the form of a visual idea, a schematic, though the verbal center in my brain would be at pains to articulate its question.
After the drawing process is complete, I begin translating the marks on the drawing into whatever mark-language I have chosen for a given piece. In the paintings, the mark is always an empty circle – a zero or cipher – which ranges in scale but never changes its shape. In other works (such as the works on paper and wood panels), the mark is constituted by a literal void – either a hole that pierces all the way through the paper, a deep puncture that penetrates into the surface of the wood, or a dark shadow produced by a protruding steel nail head. In all cases, the same mark is repeated dozens or hundreds of times, forming patterns and configurations that echo those in the image that inspired the piece. Often, the compositions that result bear little formal resemblance to the original image, but something essential of the latter always remains. Typically, this process of marking-by-voiding yields compositions that are so delicate as to be “barely there”; if one is to see anything at all, close looking and sustained attention are required.”