Margaret Wall-Romana is a painter who engages with the long history of her medium, with influences as varied as 15th to 17th Century Dutch and Flemish painting, Mannerism, The Hudson River School, Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting. In a San Francisco Chronicle review of “The Spaces”, Wall-Romana’s 2007 exhibit, Kenneth Baker noted that: “a viewer senses her constantly marveling as she rediscovers Western painting’s ultimate strangeness and the achievements that have sprung from it.”
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, the artist moved to Minneapolis six years ago. She holds a BA from the University of California, Davis, and an MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.The exhibit’s title, “Taking Time”, refers to the temporal layering of these large and complexly orchestrated works, as well as to the amount of time it takes to fully absorb them. Her juxtaposition of varied painting techniques and seemingly contradictory attitudes towards abstraction versus representation invites a quizzical kind of viewing: one feels almost compelled to step forward to query the paintings. Standing where the artist stood when she applied the paint, the viewer becomes engaged in her working process, completing it by enacting the paintings in his or her own way. Mary Abbe of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, while describing the elements of time in her work, referred to Wall-Romana this way: “working in a stylistic fusion of abstraction and illustrative detail, she everywhere commingles earth and air, renewal and decay, life and death.”
Viewing a painting is a process that unfolds through time and space. These paintings encourage us to notice how we employ different registers of looking to really see something. What begins at a distance with a first glance – where many potential viewing experiences end – becomes up close an extended and immersive visual experience. Wall-Romana wants her paintings to be rewarding, unexpected and sustained ‘places of seeing.'