"Ross Bleckner thrives on contradiction and contrast. His work oscillates between the universal and the microscopic. He completes hard-hitting confrontational work, then alternates his inherently controversial canvases with paintings entirely composed from the lush imagery of overblown flowers, jewel-coloured humming-birds and festive pyrotechnics. His work is built up through careful aesthetic consideration, yet with its mix of spititual, ethical and medical concerns, it transcends being solely elegant or decorative. Similiarly, the paintings defy being tagged as morbid or aggressive, even when the message behind them is consciously manipulative. Herein lies their unique power, for Bleckner's work purposely forces the viewer to interpret, dissect and translate the imagery into a strictly personal language; in essence, to look beyond the painted surface.
Nowhere is Bleckner's invitation for close scrutiny more apparent than in his Cell canvases, an ongoing series of paintings of unspecified objects that recall splintering molecules and hurtling atoms. In this group of works the viewer is confronted with images which, in their ambiguity, may represent either galaxies and starbursts or scientific enlargements of microbes. It is left to each observer to decide which. Furthermore, while the first subject implies a search for universal truths, the second hints at a fascination with pathogens verging on the paranoid. This equivocal sense highlights the artist's ambiguous stance. Is he confidently looking out or cautiously peering inward? At heart it is the difference between stellar navigation and navel-gazing". (J. Turner, op. cit., p. 12)
Sometimes I see my smaller paintings as portraits created under laboratory-like conditions. They become a point of departure for something that is virtually alchemical. It's as though I am extracting the fantasy from a lab setting, while at the same time removing an element from a specific DNA culture. Since I am studying the idea of working on smaller parts or characters, I call these paintings "studies". (R. Bleckner, op. cit., p. 26)