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Artist Statement

Stephen Pentak received his BA from Union College in New York, and his MFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University. He is Professor Emeritus of Art, and a past Associate Dean of the College of the Arts at Ohio State University. He has been the recipient of four Ohio Arts Council Fellowships and he has been a visiting resident artist at Delfina Studios in London, and Glasgow School of Art. In 2007 he taught in Cortona Italy at the University of Georgia Program. Pentak is co-author of Color Basics and Design Basics published by Wadsworth.

Pentak’s serene landscapes radiate an inner light. 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, on its way to the other side of the earth. 
His approach is rigorously consistent. Starting with a base layer of golden yellow, Pentak builds densely forested landscapes by dragging palette knives and large brushes across a wood- panel surface. 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.

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.

OWEN CONTEMPORARY  • 225 Canyon Road Santa Fe, NM 87501 • 505.820.0807 •