A few years ago, Scottsdale-based painter Nate Ronniger ditched majestic Western landscapes for still lifes. No worries, theyre not the stale-fruit-and-flowers crap your doily-knitting granny collects. Ronnigers whimsical oil paintings feature modern resin toys and iconic figures like Ronald McDonald. I was never fully connected to landscapes, Ronniger tells New Times. I enjoyed painting them, but there was always something missing.
That something? Control.
With still life, Ronniger can manipulate every aspect of the subject matter, from toy selection to lighting to the paper bases that serve as stages for his colorful characters. The toys are like actors playing the star role in the paintings, he explains. They have colors, designs, and expressions that I get to work with. And unlike real art models, they do exactly what he wants and he doesnt have to pay them a cent.
June 5-17, 2009