R. Muller photo
If one enjoys being in the company of nature or likes to experience color, then I suggest going to the upcoming exhibit Organic Forms and Pulsating Lines, which is works by Barbara and Julian Stanczak.
The married couple both get inspiration from nature because it sparks one’s vision and encourages a reaction through their work.
With her sculptures, Barbara Stanczak likes to take nature–made materials and tell their stories by looking past the surface to find the earth’s wondrous secrets.
“I sculpt light and emptiness. Whenever possible, I penetrate a rock or tree trunk. Not to subdue it, but to open it up.
“Open for eyes to walk through, traverse, wonder, imagine, remember, touch… and understand,” Barbara Stanczak said in her artist statement.
She comes from an educationally oriented family so she was interested from the beginning.
Her interest deepened because of her teachers, who inspired her enthusiasm, expanded her skills and gave her a drive for a more visual search.
Over the years, Barbara Stanczak has come to realize that sculpture is most natural to her even though she has done painting, print-making commercial and graphic design in the past.
“Doing sculpture, you better enjoy working hard and getting dirty, but while preoccupying the body, carving frees the mind and intuits heart and vision.
“Sculpting for me is a unique process of gradual revelation but unequaled in intensity and personal gratification,” she said.
Julian Stanczak was born in Poland, but due to Europe’s history during WWII and after, he spent his teenage years in the jungles of Msindi, Uganda, Africa.
His curiosity and fascination with color came from Africa’s forms of light, which includes shapes, lines, outlines and highlights.
“First the rain would come, and then the sun after the rain. I would look at the jungle and it would turn from purple to almost red, and then back again to blue-green or black.
“It was a dazzling color display.
“I was moved by all this drama. I wanted to capture it visually and the environment provides the raw energy that has to be translated into entities separate from nature.
“When I see the dramatic shapes and colors of nature, observe their power, it triggers in me the need to translate these primordial forces,” Julian said about Africa’s light and the environment on his website.
He studied color with Josef Albers, an artist and educator who helped with Stanczak’s visual search to himself.
“I constantly struggle for clarity and the intricate balance between container and what it contains.
“Since my biggest joy is to deal with color, the shape embracing the color is scrupulously chosen in order that it not prevail over the color situation but assist it.
“That is why I use mostly geometric shapes which one accepts without questioning particularities, thus giving the color full responsibility for visual plasticity,” says Stanczak’s view on color.
On his talent, “Julian’s ability to see and make others see life anew is just amazing; he has a special skill to create unique color atmospheres and visual experiences,” said his wife, Barbara.
The Stanczaks chose the artworks for the exhibit based on the fact they wanted Mercyhurst students to experience a number of things including but not limited to colors, shapes, sizes and media.
They really care about their viewers.
“The work we might be close to when creating it, is replaced by the pleasure we find as viewers identify with a certain piece and see their own thoughts or experiences reflected in,” said Barbara.
The exhibit will be on view in the Cummings Art Gallery from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18.
The gallery is open from Monday to Friday 9 to 4 p.m., on the weekends from 2 to 5 p.m.
If you would like to meet this imaginative couple, there will be a reception on Nov. 17, 5 to 7 p.m.