Kurt Meer and Stephen Pentak
SANTA FE, NM. Kurt Meer and Stephen Pentak are teamed together in this exhibition of landscapes that showcases their unique and contrasting interpretations of the world outside. Both artists create images of nature from their mind’s eye rather than work in the plein air style of painting on location. It is the strong creative techniques of Meer and Pentak that set them apart from other more traditional landscape artists.
For Kurt Meer, the images reflect a general sense of place, rather than a specific location. Water, sky and land are like mantras repeated over and over where the image of the landscape simply becomes a point of meditation. “For several years I worked in downtown Memphis and watched the changing face of the river throughout the seasons, in times of drought and flooding, and under varied lighting conditions. I’ve come to know its subtleties, and while the rivers in my paintings are imaginary abstractions of water, sky and vegetation shapes, they undoubtedly go back to my memory of the Mississippi.”
Meer paints loosely with a rough brush and then uses a soft brush to blend the new layer of color almost immediately after is applied. The paintings are made with thin washes of oil paint diluted with turpentine and alkyd medium. His vivid and interesting colors are achieved by maintaining transparency between the layers of paint.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Meer received his BFA in Graphic Design and has pursued graduate studies in painting from University of Memphis in Memphis, TN. He resides in Memphis, TN.
Stephen Pentak’s paintings are based on his maquettes; drawings inspired by nature but drafted with a conscious mind to the abstract. He is informed by his surroundings but holds fast to his freedom to create and invent space. The paintings have changed subtly over Pentak’s expansive career as he determinedly works in an extended series. This persistent image is a means to discovery, to exploring light and mastering the balance between representation and invention.
Pentak builds densely forested landscapes by dragging palette knives and large brushes across a wood panel surface. Surfaces are built up of many thin layers of oil paint, pulled and crosshatched, one over another. Brighter under-layers gleam through shadowy upper layers, acting as the sun on the horizon, gliding over the edges of trees, lakes and mountains. The backgrounds are panoramic, while the foregrounds are dotted by sparse collections of trees…often birches, with their white bark formed by the delicate lines of individual bristles.
Stephen Pentak received a BA from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and a MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA. He is Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University and resides in upstate New York.