REALNEO Artist For All Seasons: Julian Stanczak asks 'what does it do to you?'

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 11/07/2009 - 10:11.

Julian Stanczak - "Continuous Line + Black" 2005 - Acrylic on board 28 panels each 16 inches square
Julian Stanczak - "Continuous Line + Black" 2005 - Acrylic on board, 28 panels, 16x16 inches each

Happy 81st Birthday, Julian Stanczak... born November 5, 1928. Julian is an originator and continuing master of Op Art - one of the most important and renowned artists ever - and his work is stronger now than ever.

All that is seen without doubt in 116 remarkable paintings exhibited as compositions in Julian's amazing body of expansive, precise, cohesive "Recent Work", now showing at MoCA. Grouped as three colorful masterpieces, and a series of 10 individual black and white expressions, all these paintings stand together as one conclusive, vibrant statement, that life is an amazing experience, as only Julian may know.

A statement from his website reads: 'Julian Stanczak’s art does not echo the natural world. It does not detail visual experiences. His art does what art is supposed to do, it amplifies life’s experiences'.

About Julian, from Louis Zona, Youngstown Museum of American Art:

"The art of Julian Stanczak is an exploration of what it is to see. It is a journey into the miracle of sight and an amplification of discoveries in that journey. Julian Stanczak has through more than five decades of uninterrupted work shown us that his understanding of color has no peer. The depth of his knowledge, the remarkable keenness of his vision together with flawless execution has brought about the most significant art since the American Abstract Artists movement of a half century ago."

Do not miss the opportunity now to see all these works together in this one important show.

Julian Stanczak - "Continuous Line + White", 2005 - Acrylic on Board, 28 panels 16 inches square each

Julian Stanczak - "Continuous Line + White", 2005 - Acrylic on Board, 28 panels 16x16 inches each

With a legendary personal history I encourage you to learn about, on his website and elsewhere, Julian has lived, taught and created art in Northeast Ohio for over 50 years, during which time he has exhibited and been collected all over the world.

From Wikipedi, about Julian Stanczak: "The Op Art movement was named for Stanczak’s first exhibition in New York. Held at the Martha Jackson Gallery in 1964, the exhibition was titled Julian Stanczak: Optical Paintings."

Decades of Cleveland Institute of Art students had the opportunity to learn from this genius, and those of us living in NEO have had extensive opportunities to see his work and enjoy his friendship, and we are all most fortunate for this experience. This show is his greatest gift to the community, to date.

MoCA now exhibits three major Stanczak "paintings", which are each composed of groupings of 16x16 inch paintings - the largest work, below (sorry for the op distortion of the photo), is made up of a composition of 50 smaller paintings... the two works above are each made up of compositions of 28 smaller paintings.

Julian Stanczak - "Parade of Reds" 2006-2008 - Acrylic on wood, 50 panels, 16 inches square each

Julian Stanczak - "Parade of Reds" 2006-2008 - Acrylic on wood, 50 panels, 16x16 inches each

A fourth grouping of 10 black and white paintings, each 24x24 inches square, hangs in a row.

This is the state of the art of Op Art.

About Stanczak, as an Op Artist, on Wikipedia:

Stanczak's compositions tend to be the most complex of all of the color function practitioners. Taking his cue from Albers and his influential book Interaction of Color, Stanczak deeply investigates how color relationships work. "Stanczak created various spatial experiences with color and geometry; the latter is far easier to discuss. Color has no simple systematized equivalent. Indeed, there may be no way to describe it that is both meaningful and accurate. Descriptions of it (the color wheel or color solids, for example) are all necessary distortions. While color derives from the electromagnetic scale that corresponds to the magnitudes of energy expressed by musical pitch, in fact, the neurological occidentals by which we experience color make it seem multidimensional, while musical pitch (not timbre, volume, or duration) is experienced as a linear relationship...Stanczak's 'gift is for layering. He arranges transparent patterns upon patterns so that you see through them as gauziest screens, each one seeming to fold as if it moves.'"

In presenting his art, Julian asks the viewer 'what does it do to you?'

"Recent Work" takes me through Julian's unique vision of the dimensions of experience, time and space, to present the world from the mind's eye of a remarkable artist, great intellectual, and beloved friend, as a mature man

However, not until I reviewed my pictures of the exhibition as a panorama did it become clear to me that, while painted over a period of 2005-2008, 'Recent Work" captures all the seasons of the year, and the continuity and uniqueness of life here in Julian's NEO, in a visually powerful and intellectually stimulating way.

The artist's website says 'Julian Stanczak’s art does not echo the natural world... it amplifies life’s experiences'.

I think he accomplished both.

To me, "Continuous Line + White" amplifies life’s experiences of spring. "Parade of Reds" amplifies life’s experiences of summer. "Continuous Line + Black" amplifies life’s experiences of fall. The black and white series, illustrated by "Soft Edge Dark", below, amplifies life’s experiences of winter.

Julian Stanczak - "Soft Edge Dark", 2008 - Acrylic on board, 24 inches square

Julian Stanczak - "Soft Edge Dark", 2008 - Acrylic on board, 24 inches square

Look into the stark black and white winter mindscape of "Soft Edge Dark", above, and you will see life of Cleveland, in harsh January.

Julian Stanczak - "Continuous Line + White", detail, 2008 - Acrylic on board, 16 inches square

Julian Stanczak - "Continuous Line + White", detail, 2005 - Acrylic on Board, 16 inches square

While these photographs do not capture Julian's expert use of color, at all, the 28-part painting "Continuous Line + White", detail above, splashes the hues of springtime across a flower-fresh plane as well as any Impressionist  - see the show and you will see water lilies.

Julian Stanczak - detail - Acrylic on board, 16 inches square

Julian Stanczak - "Parade of Reds", detail - Acrylic on Board, 16 inches square

"Parade of Reds" captures 50 days of summer and the heat and passion of that season with the pulse and beating energy of the longest August afternoon.

Julian Stanczak - detail

Julian Stanczak - "Continuous Line + Black", detail, 2005 - Acrylic on Board, 16 inches square

But autumn comes too soon, as the black of night dominates the skies again, and all colors are transformed, expressed through "Continuous Line + Black"... and we know seasons pass into seasons and winter is always just around the corner, again.

What does it do to you?"

REALNEO Panorama of Julian Stanczak "Recent Work" show at MoCA

I strongly recommend anyone interested in fine art at all visit MoCA to see this extraordinary exhibition by this legendary, local master.

And, lest you think Julian prefers to work small, or is scaling his work down, as the seasons pass, be sure to include in your exploration of Stanczak masterpieces in Ohio a visit to Cincinnati, where Julian's recently completed Fifth-Third Bank Building mural demonstrates the diversity of his style, and that Julian's work expands well beyond small squares of color to enliven entire city blocks... you'll get the picture below.

Congratulations, Julian - you make NEO really special - continued happiness and mind-altering success to you, for all!

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Don't forget to vote on this poll

Julian's show is featured as one of the best things to do this fall in Northeast Ohio, on a REALNEO poll by Laura McShane... if you agree, be sure to place your vote at "Best Reasons To Visit NEO This Fall?"

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Links to REALNEO postings on Julian and Barbara Stanczak

Julian's wife Barbara Stanczak is also a globally renowned artist, often featured on REALNEO.

Here are some links to other postings on REALNEO featuring Julian AND Barbara Stanczak:

Julian's work was featured on REALNEO here - - over 2,500 hits, to date.

Barbara's show at the Botanical gardens is featured extensively here - - almost 3,500 hits

Barbara's work in the 2006 CIA Faculty Show is featured extensively here - - over 4,200 hits

And, in the 2007 Faculty Show - - 900 some hits so far

Also, note, Julian's current exhibition is doing well in a poll about things to do in Northeast Ohio - you should vote and encourage others to do so....

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Great present

  Thank you for the effort put forth here by REALNEO and...




Happy, Happy Birthday to Julian and Barbara Stanczak! 

The Stanczak's are FABULOUS

This is just terrific.  Stanczak's work--and wife's work, Barbara--is really beautiful.  And I have to wonder if MoCA decided to host this exhibition during the same time that the world is celebrating the 90th Bauhaus Anniversary?  This I say because, Julian's work really echos some of the weavers work of the Bauhaus, like Gunta Stolzl and Anni Albers, while also--in other pieces--being of direct relation to Anni's husband, Josef Albers. 

Click here to view (mid-page link) "In respect to Albers."

Additionally, an interesting correlation that Julian and his wife Barbara have with the Bauhaus is that there were lots of coupled artists working side by side.  Art was a family affair, with each artist defining their work individually.

Another interesting to Stancazk's paintings is that they really mimic many of the East-African (think Ghana and its Kente Cloth) loomed textiles.  Not surprisingly, he even created a piece (click here and follow link mid-page) called "African Village."

There is much culture in Cleveland.  NEO should be proud!


Everything about THE Stanczaks is FABULOUS

They are a wonderful family. I love your observation, that is so true:

Additionally, an interesting correlation that Julian and his wife Barbara have with the Bauhaus is that there were lots of coupled artists working side by side.  Art was a family affair, with each artist defining their work individually.

And I can think of many other artist couples who have been similarly blessed - locally, Oberlin's John Pearson and Audra Skuodas, 2009 Artist in Residence at Zygote Press, come to mind.

BTW: Audra Skuodas, 2009 Artist in Residence at Zygote Press, now showing at Zygote Press!

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Stanczak, out of Africa

Great observation about the influence of African art, as well... from Wikipedia:

Julian Scanczak was born in eastern Poland in 1928. At the beginning of World War II, Stanczak was forced into a Siberian labor camp, where he permanently lost the use of his right arm (he had been right-handed). In 1942, Stanczak (age 13) escaped from Siberia to join the Polish army-in-exile in Persia. After deserting from the army, he spent his teenage years in a hut in a Polish refugee camp in Uganda, Africa. It was in Africa that Stanczak learned to paint (left-handed). He moved to England and then the United States, where he eventually settled in Cleveland.

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