Julian Stanczak, a native of Poland who pioneered Op Art in the 1960s, was a poet of light and color.
He carried out his work for decades in Cleveland with almost unimaginable precision for a right-handed person who lost the use of his right arm after suffering beatings in a Soviet labor camp during World War II.
Stanczak also enjoyed a late-in-life surge of interest in his work and a big leap in his prices before he died in 2017 at age 88.
And now, thanks to New York-based documentary film director Tomasz Magierski, also a native of Poland, Stanczak is about to get his due, cinematically speaking.
On Sunday at 3:30 p.m., the Cleveland Institute of Art, where Stanczak taught for decades as a revered professor, will host the world premiere of “Julian Stanczak: To Catch the Light,’’ an hourlong documentary on the artist and his life.
The film will screen in the institute’s Cinematheque. Admission starts at $12. Tickets are available in advance on the CIA Cinematheque website, cia.edu/stanczakfilm.
Directed by Magierski, the film will survey Stanczak’s extraordinary life, including his sojourn in a refugee camp in Uganda during World War II, where he developed his passion for art and color.
Following his education at the Cleveland Institute of Art and Yale University, Stanczak burst upon the New York art scene in 1964 with an exhibition of “Optical Paintings” at the Martha Jackson Gallery. Artist Donald Judd, a famous Minimalist sculptor who also wrote art criticism, described Stanczak’s work as “Op Art’’ in a review, one of the earliest uses of the term.
Stanczak hated the label, but according to Magierski, Jackson responded by saying: “Oh, Julian. Calm down, quiet down. This is for the art critics, something to chew on.”
And the name stuck.