Born in Poland in 1928, Stanczak was forced to leave his native land due to the outbreak of World War II. During the next ten years he travelled and lived in the USSR, Iran, Iraq, West Pakistan, East Africa, and England before coming to the United States in 1950.
A student of Albers and a colleague of Anuskiewicz, JULIAN STANCZAK is one of the foremost exponents of the Optical Art movement living in the United States today.
His art education consisted of instruction in East Africa, London, Cleveland, and graduate studies at Yale University where he received his Masters of Fine Arts in 1956. He then taught at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and since 1964 has been on the teaching staff of the Cleveland Institute of Art.The elusive space produced through Stanczak’s overlapping and blending of regularized linear compositions produce an airy effect of objects seemingly folding and unfolding. It is precisely this delicacy of technique which distinguishes his work from other Op artists and accounts for his success at major exhibitions held in the 60’s, including over fifteen one-man shows and many thematic group exhibitions, particularly those at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (“The Responsive Eye”), and the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo.The most recent and extensive one-man show of his works was held in the Fall of 1970 at the Akron Art Institute. At the 1970 Pittsburgh International one room was devoted exclusively to his paintings. Julian stated in 1968, “In my observation, the interaction of color and the rhythmic lineal divisions embrace the maximum of visual energy produced on a canvas surface. These two compounded visual activities I thoroughly investigate and use with utmost economy as the language of my expression.” In the foreword to the catalog for the one-man show at the Akron Art Institute, director Orrel E. Thompson wrote: Stanczak’s ability to do just that, to deal with these two basic visual activities, has produced highly sensitive surfaces that induce various perceptual effects such as vibrations and after-images. These visual effects manipulate and transform the passive viewer into an active participator. Stanczak’s visual forms that evolve through his rhythmic lineal divisions materialize subtly out of his two-dimensional surfaces. In this visual statement, figure and ground intermix and work as one active area of visual phenomenon. The participator when confronted by this active, visual phenomenon is moved to draw upon his deepest visual sensibilities.This ability to set up such strong interactions of color, line, form and space has afforded Julian Stanczak the power to establish internal dynamics in his two-dimensional surfaces that in turn generate the maximum of visual energy and elegance.
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