James Woronow’s art is all about geometry and clean lines. His work is characterized by its strong use of basic shapes and colors. But there is more to Woronow’s art than meets the eye. His work is also about the hidden connections between things.
Woronow’s work often explores the relationship between the seen and the unseen, the material and the ethereal. His sculptures often use metal and exotic woods to create geometric shapes. These shapes are then affixed to a non-glare sheet of acrylic. Under this acrylic sheet is another panel to which Woronow adheres handmade papers that bring life to his geometric elements. By doing this, Woronow establishes a sense of depth and dimension.
This sense of depth and dimension makes Woronow’s work unique. His assemblages often appear simple and straightforward, but upon closer inspection, one can see the complexities and connections that make up his work. Woronow’s art is both visually stunning and intellectually stimulating.
Born in Redding, PA, Woronow’s family lived there until he was four when his family moved to Southern California, where Woronow’s father worked as an aerospace engineer. His father had an outsized personality and dominated the household. By contrast, his mother was loving and caring and served as Woronow’s primary support at home.
Unlike many artists, Woronow doesn’t recall being particularly artistic as a child. As a teenager, he lost himself in sports and, in an attempt to win his father’s favor, took advanced math and electrical theory classes in high school.
This focus on math and science might have led Woronow to follow in his father’s footsteps down the path toward engineering, but his discovery of philosophy in college was a pivotal moment in his transition to becoming an artist. Math and science had disciplined him to rely heavily on formulas and linear thinking. Philosophy courses helped him realize that there were other ways of thinking about and solving problems, opening up a whole new world.
After graduating from university, Woronow realized his degree in philosophy wouldn’t pay the bills, and he needed to find a way to make a living. Having always been good with his hands and tools, he started making custom furniture, which led to him making small sculptures out of leftover wood. Over time, his sculptures became more intricate, and he focused more on creating them. He began reading about early abstract painters and sculptors and their use of geometric shapes, which resonated with Woronow’s science and engineering background. He began to incorporate complex geometrical forms into his blossoming artwork. Over time, his interest shifted from furniture-making to fine art. Woronow opened an art studio in Chico, California, in 2014 to be able to focus on his art in a dedicated space.
Woronow approaches his work without any preconceived notions of the final product. He begins by randomly grabbing different materials and shapes and placing them on a layout board. He then adds, revises, and removes pieces until he feels he has a good rhythm, flow, and balance. This process may take a week or just a couple of hours. Sometimes he will set the work aside for weeks, allowing it to marinate while he starts another piece.
Woronow has developed this composition technique by studying the work of other artists and trying to understand what makes some abstract art interesting and other art boring. The artists who have influenced him the most have helped him push the boundaries of abstract art.
“My work isn’t like any other artist’s,” Woronow says. “My approach to composing my work with metal and exotic woods in geometric shapes allows me to express myself in visually unique ways.”
Woronow has shown his work in different galleries in Northern California, including Zimmerman gallery, Fort Bragg; Dovetail gallery, Chico; 9th Ave gallery, Chico; and Highlight Gallery, Mendocino.
Woronow believes that art is the glorious side of history. He feels that those who appreciate art have a greater appreciation for the subtle nature of man. He believes art provides the artist an opportunity to impart beauty and value to society while simultaneously allowing him to appreciate that beauty himself.
While Woronow’s art is largely for self-fulfillment, he aspires to have his art appreciated by others. He hopes his art will touch people’s lives in a meaningful way, and they will be able to see the connection between his art and his life story.