About Ron Tatro

Ron Tatro received his Master of Fine Arts in 1966 from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. In the summer of 1968 he moved to Southern

California where he accepted a teaching position at Grossmont College.

His initial responsibility was to establish a sculpture department and an

art gallery program.

Ron decided at age twelve that he wanted to be an artist. After high school he attended Illinois State University for one semester and then transferred to Southern Illinois University in the spring of 1961. He majored in painting at the university. In 1966/67 his painting became increasingly more three dimensional with irregular formats. After moving to California, he decided to concentrate on fabricated metals as his chosen medium. With no formal training in sculpture, he began a self-education in the history of sculpture, especially studying artists

who worked in welded steel, a 20th Century medium. He started making steel sculptures in 1969 and has continued to work exclusively in welded metals. The polychrome pieces were started in 1981. He uses a limited color palette of red, yellow, blue, green and black. Color was introduced into the sculptures because of his strong interest in painting and because color is an emotional element. The sculptures have a collage-like quality of cut paper shapes adhered to a geometric format. The format shapes are readily identifiable primary geometric black shapes. The color shapes have a cut paper quality and are manipulated three dimensionally. The contrapuntal relationship of the two dimensional color shapes against the black geometric shape creates for the viewer an energized and dynamic visual experience.

Since 1983 Ron’s work has attracted a growing audience. In September of 1984 he had his first major show at Art Space Gallery in Los Angeles. He has had one man shows in San Francisco, San Diego, New York and at Art 18 1987 and Art 20, 1989 Basel, Switzerland. His work is in corporate and private collections throughout Europe, Australia and the United States.

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Artist Statement

I use universally identifiable primary shapes and colors. I contrast the regular geometric shapes with personalized geometric shapes. I am interested in creating a dynamic unity. I am interested in making sculptures that are personal, artistically inventive, joyous, and accessible. I want the sculptures to be visually engaging and to take and hold the viewer’s interest immediately.

The background for my work is rooted in the general ideas of 20th century art. I have responded to Cubism for its formal inventions, Surrealism for its psychic exploration, Constructivism because I feel a natural identity for its universality and the Abstract Expressionists because of their passion. My work is influenced by my background and significant 20th century artists and has unique qualities, which reflect my assimilation and personal responses, and brings to reality the expression of human emotions in the concrete reality of the sculpture. The sculpture is a vehicle to arrest the moment, a feeling, a thought, to establish an identity and connection with others.

My sculptures are made of fabricated metals and painted with polyurethane paints. I consider my sculpture to be very closely related to painting and drawing and less to the traditional ideas of three-dimensional sculptural massive form. My background is in painting and the impetus for my sculpture is painting. Sheet metal is the perfect material for me because it has additive qualities much like a brush load of paint applied to the flat surface and I can use it in a collage like manner. The color and highly finished surface complete and bring to full potential the finished sculpture. I also use stainless steel and aluminum. I use a sander/grinder on the stainless steel pieces to create a visually textured surface. Aluminum and stainless are excellent materials to use for outdoor pieces.

Recently, I added the computer to my collection of tools that I use to create my art works. After more than forty years of concentrating almost exclusively on creating sculpture, I decided it was time to spend some of my energy on the two dimensional aspects of my visions. The exploration of digital media has opened artistic avenues for me unavailable with conventional media. I find working with various imaging software to be very exciting and challenging. It has been rewarding to explore the endless possibilities provided by the software to create new and previously unimaginable creations. My background as an artist using conventional materials has provided me with the pictorial image making devices and knowledge needed to combine the conventional with the digital. I do not see them as exclusive of each other. My goal is to successfully merge them.