“You have to learn what abstraction is in order to understand what painting is.” ~ Stanley Lewis
Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased open this season at its new location on Rivington Street with an exhibition of recent paintings and works on paper by Stanley Lewis. The exhibition, the artist’s first solo show with the Gallery, will include 9 paintings and 5 drawings dating from 2007 to the present. Lewis will be present for an opening reception Sunday, September 7, 2014, 4 to 8 PM.
Lewis draws and paints on-site what he sees, his own backyard, views of Lake Chautauqua where he teaches in summer, the Westport train station near his children’s homes, the hemlock tree out his window or the studio where he works. A modest feat yet endowed with incredible ambition- “It almost kills me!”
The proposition is a constant that all painting is abstract. A problem solver by his own admission, Lewis works for years on a drawing or painting attempting to grasp the detail, “the little things,” while holding on to the planes of the painting or surface of the drawing. In the current exhibition both the paintings and works on paper reveal his ambitious cut and assemble process as he marries the minute with the whole. The canvas is cut and added to, piled on layers of paper and canvas unified by an active painted surface. Similarly the works on paper are multi-layered resulting in a bas relief as in Hemlock Trees Seen from Upstairs Window in the Snow, where the layers work both as cubist planes as well as single twigs.
Stanley Lewis was born in Somerville, NJ in 1941. He received a BA from Wesleyan University in 1963 and an MFA from Yale University in 1967 as a Danforth Fellow. Throughout his career, Lewis has held posts as teacher and critic at various institutions including Kansas City Art Institute, Smith College, and American University. In 2005, Lewis received a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work can be found in the National Academy Museum, New York, NY; Hollins University Gallery, Roanoke, VA; the Collections of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY; Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN; and Watkins Collection at American University, Washington, DC, among others. Recently, his work was exhibited in See It Loud: Seven Post-War American Painters at the National Academy Museum in New York as well as exhibitions at the Eli Marsh Gallery at Amherst College and the Alexandre Hogue Gallery at the University of Tulsa. Lewis lives and works in Leeds, MA.