AThe New Record
January 29, 2015
colorful exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum displays an additional element alongside each of the 20 portraits it contains — a poem that adds a deeper dimension to the work.
In an interview with fellow artist Julie Karabenick, “Color Color” artist Julian Stanczak described his exploration with color as “abstract, universal, yet personal and private in experience.”
The Cincinnati Art Museum is displaying Stanczak’s works from 1993 in the exhibit, which contains pieces that were created with just a 1990s inkjet printer.
Stanczak was born in Borownica, Poland, in 1928. He was taken into a concentration camp in Siberia in 1940 until 1942, where he lost the use of his right hand. He later found his family in the Middle East before going to a Polish refugee camp in Uganda, where he received his first private art lessons.
After completing school at the Borough Polytechnic Institute in London, Stanczak immigrated to the United States in 1950. He earned his bachelor’s at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1954 and his master’s degree at Yale in 1956. He later returned to the Cleveland Institute of Art to teach painting for 38 years. Stanczak retired in 1995 and currently resides in Seven Hills, Ohio, a suburb south of Cleveland.
“Color Color” displays 20 pieces of creative visual art. While the portraits initially appear similar to one another, each piece has a different tone, mood and overall story.
Each piece is paired with a poem written by Harry Rand, adding more depth to both poem and artwork. The balance between Stanczak’s imagery and Rand’s poetry distinguishes “Color Color“ from other exhibits.
Each poem is ultimately a portrait of the painting; the poetry helps develop the overall symbolism and creates a tone for each portrait.
“Color Color” is focused and concise, a vibrant exhibition that creates dramatic moods through color and creates a long-lasting impression for visitors.
Some of the pieces had the same pattern, but with a different color, showing how colors change the overall mood of a piece.
Two pieces in particular — “Central” and “Dependent on Green” — stand out as examples of two pieces that have the same pattern or design, but with different colors. The distinct hues convey a different tone, making the two differ from one another in terms of visual storytelling.
The disposition and the tone of the poetry alongside each piece contrasted greatly. “Central” included deep shades of purple and blue while “Dependent on Green” is more based on reds and greens, rooting each artwork in different dynamics.
While the equilibrium between perceptual, contemporary art and symbolic poetry is strong, the paintings appear plain at first glance. Yet if one takes the time to look at them closely and read into the poetry, it makes for an overall satisfying visit.