Image rights: 2015, Kathryn Markel Fine Arts
About Stephen Pentak
In his luminous landscape paintings, Stephen Pentak teases the eye by blurring the line between abstraction and representation. He is interested in painting’s inherent contrasts, which he once described in a poem: “All there is in painting is form. / All that matters in painting is content. / All there is in painting is surface. / All that matters in painting is space. / […] All there is in painting is presentation. / All that matters in painting is representation.” This fundamental contradiction, of naturalism achieved through artifice and illusion, animates his work. Using drywall trowels, plastering tools, palette knives, and paintbrushes, Pentak layers colors onto his canvases, carefully refining them into scenes of reflective bodies of water surrounded by hills, trees, and branches—visions of nature that continually dissolve into abstraction, then re-form.
American, based in Hudson Valley, New York