SOMA NewArt Gallery is pleased to present “RISING,” a solo exhibition of New Pastel Paintings of South Jersey and Beyond, by renowned regional artist, Stan Sperlak. For this show Stan has created an outstanding body of new work inspired by the dramatic natural beauty of the Cape Island Peninsula and from his international painting workshops, Stan will be showing pastels created during his recent trips to France and Australia.
Stan’s primary focus is “plein-air” landscape painting, working from nature and distilling it into its essential color and form. Sperlak enhances the visual appeal by reducing the discordant realities of a subject into a subtle yet powerful unity. Although much detail is suggested, close inspection of these gorgeous pastels will reveal that Stan’s work is often color fields with brush marks that allow the viewer to fill in the details and moods. Each pastel painting captures the subtle natural beauty of the subject, highlighting Stan’s vivid mastery of color, texture, and composition. Sperlak’s skillful sensational new work brings another dimension to a career that has made Stan one of the most respected and collected artists working in the region.
Sperlak favors the pastel medium because of its primal nature, “the using of one’s hands, the sensual experience of touch, and the serendipitous marks that are caused by the unusual shapes of the sticks.” Stan works on smaller pieces “plein air” on location, and recently has begun to experiment producing very large works from these studies in the studio. The evolution of the studio allows Stan to challenge color perception and add more emotional expression to his work.
Stan comments “My personal love of the skies, marshes, oceans, and the fields of Southern New Jersey is a timeless subject, very satisfying to me and changing constantly. We have been given such natural beauty in our local surroundings that I strive to present it with some new colors and formats that are uniquely subtle yet powerful.”
Sperlak is a juried member of the Pastel Society of America, the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters, the Maryland Pastel Society, and Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts in Millville. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Stan’s work is also in the permanent collection of the Noyes Museum in Oceanville, NJ. Stan teaches pastel painting in the plein-air tradition at his many pastel workshops through out the year.