Tamar Kronenfeld: Special Topics in Metaphorical Physics

by Shana Nys Dambrot

Albert Einstein believed that “All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree,” and painter Tamar Kronenfeld thinks so, too. Her new paintings belong to a series she’s called “Strange Attractor” in a deliberate nod to a facet of particle physics having to do with fractals, and how apparent chaos follows an inscrutable logic that unfolds over time into beautiful, self-organizing patterns. These patterns repeat from the subatomic to the galaxial level and everywhere in between -- and it’s that never-ending, resonant-rich “everywhere in between” that is the subject of Kronenfeld’s compositions. She is intrigued by the ambitious scope of the idea that everything in the universe is literally one as a matter of matter and energy; but she is inspired by the steady flow of ordinary experiences and accumulated memories that bear this out. 

She has done the math -- and the yoga, and the cloud-catching, hair-braiding, forensic fingerprinting, symphonic pigeon-feeding, buffeted sidewalk-streaming. And she’s done the painting -- developing a language of linear mark-making that is thick, wistful, textured, patinated, shadowy, soothing, violent, rhythmic, syncopated, questioning, assertive, seductive, dense, lonely, organic, or gravitational -- depending on what the moment requires. What she doesn’t do is make actual pictures of any of it -- not definitively. Instead she works intuitively to construct evocative abstract compositions that follow the same rules; in this way, her paintings do not depict, they embody. Although Kronenfeld’s milieu is a painting studio rather than, say, a physics lab, she could rightly be seen as an heir to Einstein’s pursuit of the so-called Unified Theory of Everything. In some ways, she has a better shot; the language of faith, instinct, and allegory is more forgiving than the language of mathematics, and poetry infinitely harder to debunk.

Tamar Kronenfeld's exhibition, Strange Attractor, opens at Quinn Studios, 3015 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405 on Saturday, April 6, 7pm. Music by DJLO, live set from jazz ensemble Maetar at 9.30pm.