Gary Stephan

New York City, New York, USA

Matter as Metaphor

Before reading this statement it is best to look at the work. I offer a version of this advice when visiting galleries as well. Get a sense of what you think is at issue in the work, and only then read the press release. Through repeated cold reads one develops a point of view.

In junior high my art class went into New York City from Levittown, Long Island to see Vincent Price’s art collection at Robert Moses’s Coliseum on Columbus Circle, which was usually a venue for trade shows.

In the collection was a large Ad Reinhardt, which I dismissed to the approval of my friends. A docent was taking this in and asked me if I would come back and stand for a few minutes in front of the painting. As the image emerged I had the sureness of my teenage mind shaken.

The relevance of this to my painting is not the tactic of the Reinhardt, but seeing strategically that the painting had a “Doing” as well as a “Being.” The forming and reforming in my work is the Doing.

Most paintings have Being, but very few have clearly delineated Doing.

I say the unsettled space in my work builds the house of Surrealism with the tools of Suprematism.

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