Acrylic, oil, and stain on birch, 24" x 48"

​​​​​The painter George McNeil frequently spoke enthusiastically of the late work of Henri Matisse as "High decoration," meaning that, although they had a decorative quality, they transcended the ordinary realm of decoration and became what was then referred to as High Art with a capital A.

These pieces by Tom Raneses work to a similar end through their uncanny sense of color and form assembling themselves to an end which is simultaneously decorative as well as spiritual. Raneses is a Washington, DC based artist, and on first glance one thinks of historical color field concerns that were prominent in the Washington art world of the 1960's and 70's.

However, Raneses' work goes beyond issues of field and flat color. These pieces take on a sensation of pulsating rhythmic breaths which gives them a romantic and metaphoric lifelike quality. Rather than taut stasis, one feels the sensate quality of swimming through color. These are quietly powerful meditative pieces deserving of a long, quiet look.

Don Kimes

Artistic Director,

Visual Arts Chautauqua Institution