Having emerged from a classical background, Austin artist, Roi James began his career gaining inspiration from the great romantic landscape painters, such as J.M.W Turner, Claude Lorrain, Caspar David Friedrich, and Thomas Moran. As James’s body of work evolved, he started to explore newer traditions in Abstract Expressionism, Op Art and Minimalism. With his contemporary works, James experiments and uses unorthodox methods of applying and moving oil paint to create archetypal forms that infuse a sense of both familiarity and mysteriousness.
"In my paintings I explore how uncertainty can lead to meaning and understanding, how harmony can be experienced even within tension and chaos, and how the recognizable can rise out of purely abstract form. In my new paintings I respond to these phenomena by creating contemporary icons – works meant to encourage contemplation and meditation.
My recent works have evolved from the romantic representational ideal into the symbolic, abstract archetype. I come from a classical background inspired by the great romantic landscape painters such as Turner, Lorrain, Friedrich, and Moran, but my recent work is more influenced by the work of artists like Klee, Miro, Rothko, Pollock, Riley and Richter.
I create complex abstractions: layered in familiarity and veiled in mysteriousness. The unorthodox methods I use to apply and move oil paint allow me to create compositions that are formally beautiful – infused with tension and drama, but also expressive of the spiritual, symbolic, mysterious and eternal. My work counters traditions of rigid certainty, recognizing the deeply complex systems and interrelationships surrounding us. These paintings strike a delicate balance between control and freedom, reality and possibility – they are icons of this sacred space."