Artist of the Week: Rebecca Bangs, Connecting the Dots

There must be a moment when you look at painting.

A small, almost undetectable moment, when the bouncing light waves, retinal ricochets, sputtering synapses, finally come together as art. Vision races from the starting gate of shadow, to color, to object, and finally to full composition in a split second. The brain outruns the mind.

That is an uncatchable moment that Rebecca Bangs somehow manages to catch.

Bangs, an artist who works in the pointillism style, gives a freeze-frame of neural lightning with each painting. She sets her paintings a more considered pace –  breaking down the visual process. She forces the viewer to consider what it means to look at a flower, a landscape or a child.

Pinnacle of Sand (6” x 6“), Rebecca Bangs, Acrylic painting on wood

“It slows me down,” she says.

Her kaleidoscopic arrays of dots force the viewers to slow down as well.

She engages the fast-metabolizing eyeball in a delightful jig between two perspectives: the close-up, abstract flurry and the far-away, figurative scene. She isolates a step in a process, the step between color and shape.

Detail of Happy to be Here (6″ x 6″), Rebecca Bangs, Acrylic on wood

“I really get to observe the color combinations closely, and slowly, and see the power of one single mark,” says the artist. “[A single] mark can be a suggestion of something, or a highlight…but, it has a power on its own,”

The eye naturally coalesces the points – a sort of, auto connect-the-dots – into delicate images that seem to jitter and ripple, almost hovering above the canvas.

“I create these paintings that have a rich texture for the eyes…they are almost multi-sensory with the bright colors, vibrations, and layers,” says Bangs.  

She has a scientist’s curiosity about her, perpetually asking and testing questions while working. Her questions range from the interplay between colors, to the size of the dots, to the number of layers – no variable is left un-hypothesized, and, she says, “there’s still quite a lot I want to discover.”   

From Rebecca Bangs’ studio space

She began to work in dots when she was in high school.

“It was just paper and a whole nice big set of colored markers, the brighter the better,” she says. “At that time, it was just all about playing with color.”

These are the earliest signs of her ever-evolving education in color, today she works in an 800-square-foot studio that she shares with two other artists.

“My studio is definitely a happy space,” she says, “it is wonderfully open, bright and very inspiring.”

Rebecca Bangs’ workspace

The walls are white and open up to a 360-degree skylight, 20 feet above the studio floor. She has an affinity for natural wood, so she has a wood easel, an antique teak executive desk, and other wooden furniture about the studio. And, she keeps a cache of dark chocolate and jelly beans in her studio – “for art emergencies.”

In order to work at her maximum happiness level, she needs a multisensory experience. So, music is always playing. There is a good chance that she is the only unifying denominator between the artists on her eclectic playlists.

She lists several artists and genres she enjoys working to including, The Prodigy, Audiomachine, The Eagles, Patrick O’Hearn, Nine Inch Nails, Jim Croce, African music, and Afro-Cuban music.       

Clearly, Bangs appreciates the many-textures of life. But also, the tactile textures of life.  

“I love texture…I am definitely the kind of person who walks through a clothing store reaching out and touching things,” she says, an affinity that clearly manifests itself in her artwork.

For a while she tried knitting, weaving, and spinning, but she realized that painting was her real calling.

“These crafts, while a diversion to keep my artist soul fed at the time, turned out to be just another form of playing with color and texture…while being slowed down to enjoy them,” says Bangs.

See more of Rebecca Bangs’ work on UGallery.