For Marc Ross' series of mixed media paintings in "No Explanation Needed," the current exhibit at the Cultural Arts Center, the viewer is always in the creator's mind. The large, abstract acrylics, which also incorporate pastels and colored pencils, are designed to contain a multi-faceted approach in experiencing each.

For Marc Ross' series of mixed media paintings in "No Explanation Needed," the current exhibit at the Cultural Arts Center, the viewer is always in the creator's mind. The large, abstract acrylics, which also incorporate pastels and colored pencils, are designed to contain a multi-faceted approach in experiencing each.

"They're created because from a distance you really can't see [all the detail]. Those can get obliterated with the layers I put on. I really want to force people to move back and forth," Ross said during a phone interview from the Gahanna Lincoln High School where he's a full-time teacher. "From a distance, the color not only washes it over it all, but it also glows off the canvas to an extent. It glows from a distance, but that disappears as you get close and the details come through."

Another reason Ross presents this dimensionality in each piece is to require careful and patient observation by the viewer, something the artist finds to be increasingly difficult in an era of "constant technological chatter, instant communication and flamboyant visual images to which we now have grown accustomed," according to his artist's statement.

"When I see people looking at art, they'll often walk right by it, [and] only spend two seconds looking at a piece," he said. "I think we've really lost something in the sense of to simply contemplate anything - stop multitasking. No one seems to be able to do that [contemplation] … they always seem to have some other distraction going on. To have a singular focus is a very hard thing for people to do now."

Ross (who just purchased his first smart phone only days ago) wants his paintings to serve as a means for introspection - for both the artist and the viewer. He perceives the technique of creating numerous, varied layers (in terms of medium, color and contour) for each piece to be a reflection of the experiences and memories we assemble, one on top the other, to create a lifelong existence. For the viewer, the goal is to thoughtfully engage this analysis of reality by letting the aesthetics of the work transfix.

The subtle intricacies - often concentrated line-work of complex patterns and chaotic designs that only become fully visible from a couple feet away and the stratums of colorful shades - are only finalized when entrancement is reached.

"I really don't have an endpoint in mind when I start. I work them and keep layering the pastels and the colored pencils - which are on layers in between and get built into the image, not just on the top surface - and use semi-transparent colors over them. So a painting could go for a few weeks or a couple months. I literally put myself in the place of the viewer. I know a painting is finished when I can sit in front of it and literally get mesmerized myself and not have any thoughts come into my mind as to what I can do to change it or fix it or make it better," Ross said.

While Ross' practice is complex in terms of both construction and perception, the collection is accessible due to the aforementioned "glow" buoyantly radiating off each piece and the exploratory aspect of the assorted, meticulous line work.

Ross also explores some new techniques in "No Explanation Needed" that coalesce with the acrylic (and mixed media) works while offering an intriguing diversion. The paper series "Train of No Image" features a similar layering technique, but also merges in a framing device caused by taping off edges and contracting the perimeter multiple for each new layer. In "Wounded #1," "Wounded #2" and "Memento," Ross scored away layers using a Dremel tool to expose the numerous levels and variant colors at the foundation. In the "Train" series and the scored pieces Ross is exploring process, a recent development he feels adds to his practice.