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The Stanczak Color Quarterly

Welcome back to the Stanczak Color Quarterly. This newsletter celebrates the work of seminal Op-Artist Julian Stanczak, honoring his rigorous investigation—and enduring love—of color. We're happy to present this 2nd issue, which invites you to explore Brisk, 1980.

Read on to discover recent exhibitions, read about Stanczak in the press, and to take a glimpse back into the artist's studio.

Stanczak mixed 16 different hues for this square painting from 1980, which is one of his ‘color grid’ canvases. Although the color shifts are not always easy to see, the painting has eight blues that go from a powdery, light blue at the edges of the canvas to a deep ultramarine in the center. These blues are delimited by contrasting gradients, also consisting of eight hues, going from pink on the edges to white in the middle.

The low contrast between the colors on the painting’s periphery makes the pinks appear to hover like a soft, warm haze. Meanwhile, in the center of the painting, strong contrasts between the ultramarine and white produce a throbbing, pulsating effect, especially when the painting is seen at close range. From a distance, however, the contrasting colors reconcile, giving the painting the appearance of having a large, almost monochromatic, center—an illusion that is dispelled upon closer examination.

The above details of Brisk (photographed at Diane Rosenstein Gallery in Los Angeles during Julian Stanczak: The Light Inside, February 5–April 2, 2022) highlight Stanczak's geometric precision and reveal his layering technique. Stanczak's meticulous lines and careful chromatic choices produce a canvas which glows with radiant light.

In her Artillery Magazine review of the exhibition at Diane Rosenstein Gallery, Ezrha Jean Black describes this historic series of Stanczak's canvasses from 1972–1987 as "op-minimalist mappings." She writes, "Stanczak’s color—always adventurous—is nevertheless slightly counter-intuitive, always catching the viewer slightly off-guard." Read more here. Then, see The Light Inside in context at the Diane Rosenstein Gallery in the video walkthrough, below.