November 1, 2010
The New Criterion review of "Julian Stanczak: Color - Grid"
Gallery Chronicle
James Panero
Published November 2010

The New York gallery scene has a way of offering up nice coincidences. Now on view at Danese gallery is a four-decade survey of grid paintings by Julian Stanczak, perhaps the canonical painter of Op Art (the term was coined for one of his shows in the 1960s). Born in Poland in 1928, Stanczak now lives and works in Seven Hills, Ohio. There’s a move that has one of those only-in-America rings to it, especially when you consider that, in the interim, Stanczak passed through Iran, India, and Pakistan as a refugee with the Polish Army-in-Exile in 1939, was interned at a Soviet concentration camp in 1940, and lived in a Polish resettlement community in the jungles of British Uganda in 1942. He emigrated to the United States in the 1950s and earned a BA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an mfa from Yale, where he studied with Albers and Conrad Marca-Relli, and became a citizen in 1956.

The Op of Stanczak’s art is as much alchemy as science. Even with their taped lines and checkerboar d patterns, his compositions can be magically powerful—emotive rather than emotional work from an artist who lost the use of his right arm in Siberia. His grids, with layers of carefully graded squares and lines, are built up so that the optical effects are maximized while the mechanics are tucked from view. Stanczak is less interested in revealing the process of his art than in presenting a product with the greatest punch and sparkle.

Most of the paintings here are constructed around a central axis. The colors radiate and rotate out of the heart of the work, sometimes pushing out, sometimes drawing us into perceived space. The grids, mean while, stitch the work together, containing the pulsating colors in their weave and giving the compositions a classical order.

Now in his eighties, Stanczak offers up two new red paintings that are the best and most assured works in the Danese show. In Echo 1 and Echo 2(both 2010), he dispenses with his more fussy pattern systems and creates two warm and glowing works with subtle touches. At a time when the art world seems to listen more than it looks, here are paintings that are unabashed in their high-definition glory.


Associated Artist

News Archive

February 14, 2019
February 17, 2018
February 8, 2018
January 22, 2018
October 1, 2017
September 30, 2016
November 18, 2015
October 20, 2015
August 29, 2015
July 16, 2015
February 24, 2015
February 19, 2015
January 16, 2015
October 18, 2014
June 1, 2014
April 30, 2014
April 1, 2014
March 28, 2014
March 19, 2014
March 6, 2014
March 1, 2014
February 15, 2014
January 31, 2014
October 18, 2013
October 8, 2013
September 12, 2013
December 18, 2012
September 26, 2012
May 31, 2012
June 20, 2011
David Richard Gallery, LLC

211 East 121st Street, New York, NY 10035 | p (212) 882-1705
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday | 12:00 - 6:00 p.m. Sunday or by appointment

Santa Fe, NM | p (505) 983-9555 | by appointment