JOURNEY FROM SEMINAL TO RECENT WORK
Ronn Jaffe is a Contemporary Artist whose work includes aspects of both Conceptual and Narrative Art. The work often combines Fine Art, Architecture and Design in its process; disciplines gleaned from his life’s work. He is interested in multicultural myths, creating his own mythological stories, minimalism, the cerebral and the narrative, and in exploring new ways of artistic expression. Jaffe’s work additionally examines his continued interest in the relationships between positive and negative form and space, the yin and yang of conflicting energies such as good and evil, life and death, despair and elation, dark and light, love and hate, mortality and eternity. These created narratives delve into the multiple nuances of the human condition. i.e.…exploring the transcendence of creation.
Ronn Jaffe, born in Washington, D.C., was drawn into the world of art by destiny. His mother Libby, concerned that as a nine year old he could not draw a straight line, enrolled Ronn at the Corcoran School of Art; he took to it like a duck to water. He later advanced his art studies at the Boston Museum School, the Art Student’s League, and again at the Corcoran. Jaffe holds a B.S. in Business and Marketing from Boston University with advanced studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and on escapades throughout Europe.
After college, travels and a few years in Manhattan working on the inside of Wall Street, Jaffe, unfulfilled, returned to D.C., to study art at the Corcoran School of Art. At that time he shared a downtown studio with two other artists, above a donut shop, across the street from what is now the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery.
On a visit back to NYC, Ronn attended a party at Andy Warhol’s with a beauty named Mars, who turned out to be the love of his life. They married, moved to her home-town of Baltimore, and Jaffe turned all his efforts back to painting. The pieces were exciting. They were large, unframed, hard-edge, painted in vivid Day-Glo oil paint, and constructed with negative openings created in primary geometric shapes cut into the canvas, which he called ‘Portoids.’ Within the year, Jaffe was discovered and given a solo show he titled Primary Negatives at the Park Place Gallery in Baltimore.
Walter Hopps, a prominent art world figure of the day, and mentor to Robert Rauschenberg, was at that time Director of the Corcoran Museum of Art. He was impressed by Jaffe’s show and called to meet with him. Hopps offered to put Jaffe in a Corcoran show: caveat–Jaffe would have to wait 4-5 years to show Hopps his serious intent.
RE-DEFINEMENT AND DESIGN
Jaffe had a decision to make. It was 1968 and even after a successful solo show, he realized that it was a long road to success as an artist. He would take a fork in the road, deciding not to wait for the Corcoran show, wanting a more financially viable future to support his then growing family.
He attended Harvard Graduate School of Design to study Interior Architectural Design, a venue that would also allow him to paint and produce art. This led to the establishment of Ronn Jaffe Associates, Inc., an Interior Architectural Design Firm, in partnership with his wife Mars, specializing in corporate identity and commercial design; later including a residential division. Over the years the firm prospered, winning many awards, establishing Jaffe as an illustrious designer of distinguished interiors for high-profile clients. VIP clientele/collectors of Jaffe’s art include The White House, the Sultan of Brunei, Aristotle, Onassis, Ambassadors and Entrepreneurs, as well as many Fortune 500 corporations including ATT, IBM, Toyota, Thiokol, Shell Oil, US West and Kellogg.
Jaffe has appeared on television and radio, been published worldwide in over 50 magazines and newspapers, and presented many programs as a design and marketing expert, including an extremely successful eight-week design seminar for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. as well as representing the United States as keynote speaker at a thirteen nation design conference in Toulon, France. Ronn Jaffe has been listed in Who’s Who in Corporate Executives, Who’s Who in Interior Design and The Yearbook of Experts, Authorities. And Spokespersons. Ronn’s work has also been featured in many books such as FURNITURE …Architects’ and Designers’ Originals and the Jaffes’ own book STYLEMATCH.
The Jaffes’, separately and as a team, have designed hundreds of pieces of furniture for their clients. Ronn Jaffe continued during his renowned design career to produce and sell his art including paintings, portraits, drawings, prints, murals, sculpture, furniture, and rugs as well as hand-painted clothing, shoes, ties, pottery and glassware …and just about anything with a paintable surface.
Ronn retired his design firm in the mid 2000’s to devote his creative energies full time to his art. He found his personal voice early on and continues prolifically on this journey inspired to expand the stylistic themes that characterize his work.
Jaffe’s work, as noted, is Contemporary, Conceptual and Narrative. He employs his design training in many of his pieces creating complex scaled drawings for the production of intricate compositions and hand crafted stretchers for his bas-relief signature Mullticams, multi-canvas constructions, his art furniture and his sculpture. Jaffe also works in series as a contemplative artist exploring a variety of stylistic approaches, themes and media also seen in his non-series work.
Jaffe’s distinctive style is recognizable in the use of his signature Multicams and his Portoids which are negative openings or holes in the canvas which Jaffe defines as portals into the unconscious or unknown …..”perhaps intriguing droplets of DNA, I immerse into Soupault’s water from the well of the unconscious.”
Ronn Jaffe is an Artist, Furniture Designer, Interior Architectural Designer, Entrepreneur, and Poet. The scope of his multi-disciplinary talent is diverse. It includes paintings, portraits, drawings, sculpture, products and functional art/design. Jaffe’s design virtuosity is reflected in his transition, as an experienced Artist and Furniture Designer, from more conventional furniture to furniture as dynamic Functional Sculpture.
Ronn Jaffe believes it is the Artist’s role to lead, to be an agent of change, to employ the experience of art as liberation from the daily mundane, encouraging condemplation and creating transcendence to a more aesthetic and spiritual fulfillment.