Howard Fonda: the message or the messenger, 10/24-12/5

Untitled, 2018-2020. Oil and colored pencil on canvas. 56 x 44 inches.


Goldfinch is very proud to present Howard Fonda’s solo exhibition the message or the messenger in Gallery 2.  Known for composing picture planes comprised of loose brushstrokes of varying lengths that coalesce into mesmerizing, boldly chromatic pictorial fields, Fonda makes paintings that embody principles of abstraction and representation simultaneously, in the process overturning categorical definitions of both.  Fonda’s interest in looking at painting through a philosophical lens, as “a vehicle of contradiction,” as he has stated, allows us to re-examine definitions and assumed truths that are in fact dependent on context and contingencies. “On a whole, the subject matter is driven by my personal fascination with love, existence, meaning and truth,” Fonda has explained. These are “big, well-worn themes that I personalize and play out in my humble little studio. It’s all bit self-indulgent, but it helps me make sense of this crazy world.”

Howard Fonda is an artist, former educator, father and husband living in Portland, OR. Philosophical and introspective, Fonda’s work expresses a romantic worldview and mystical inner journey within a painterly dialogue. He has been the recipient of grants from a number of institutions including the Oregon Arts Commission and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Previously an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Fonda has lectured, served on jurying and critique panels and pursued curatorial projects at numerous universities and art centers. The artist’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad since 2000.

Press Release
selected works:
HOward fonda, Thoughts on Painting

The difference between representation and abstraction is like the difference between clouds and sky. The
origin of the debate is more useful than the debate itself.
I see painting as a philosophical sanctuary and spiritual outpost.
I embrace painting’s traditions and limitations, finding comfort in them.
Painting is a vehicle of contradiction adept at conveying the hubris of, and understanding of, existence.
Painting is poetic and transcendent.
I find painting an articulate means of exposing a range of emotion, both rational and irrational. Both rational,
and irrational, experience define existence.
Genre and form are choices like any other, used to articulate a cultural perspective and historical context.
Craft, form and content are equivalents.
Painting relies on truth and beauty.
Mystery begs to be demystified. Definitions beg to be redefined.
Judgment, itself, can be good or bad. Both “good” and “bad” can be good or bad or both. Judgment has less to
do with art than one expects. Consideration and empathy are more useful.
Content is form. Form is content.
Academia, “institutions”, and “the market” are all equivalent.
In these times, critical analysis of art must contain a measure of academia, “institutions” and “the market”, as
well as articulated taste.
The value of art is never fixed and is contingent on context.
Art is everything and nothing. Everything is everything and nothing. Nothing is everything and nothing.
Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is more important than knowledge.
Creating meaning and finding meaning are two different things. I am primarily interested in finding meaning. — Howard Fonda


Selected folio drawings
PRIVATE VIEW (please contact gallery for password)
selected articles

Howard Fonda in Maake Magazine

Interview with Howard Fonda, SPACE READER, August 5, 2019, by Lia Wilson 

Artmaze magazine – Howard Fonda: What is love? Why are we here? What does it all mean?  

Howard Fonda by Kevin Smith in 52 Critical Painters


Artist Howard Fonda from Chuka Chukuma on Vimeo.