Stephen Pentak’s formative work explored abstraction, though it was always informed by nature. His highly developed, mature style now depicts landscape with particular attention given to composition. The underlying structure lends a grounded tranquility to his imagery. Pentak continues to expand on his extended series of landscapes, creating a rhythmic sense of space between the middle ground and foreground.
Though each scene is inspired by an actual place, Pentak paints only from memories of his frequent hiking trips and fly-fishing adventures across the country. He uses variations on iconic themes: a bend in a river, a point of land, an island, and always a broad expanse of reflective water.
Painting wet on wet and wet on dry techniques with large house paint brushes, palette knives and scrapers, he brings all the elements together with an atmospheric perspective that simultaneously expands space and enhances the sense of stillness. “I mix paint, cover paint and scrape down to a color underneath, right on the surface of the painting,” he says. “The panel gives me a hard resistant surface I can scrape against.”
Stephen Pentak is Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University where he was Professor and Associate Dean from 1983-2006. He is the author of numerous books including Design Basics published by Cengage. Learning. He exhibits extensively across the United States, from California to New York and internationally including Canada and Israel. A four-time Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship Award Winner, he has also received various Arts and Research Grants from Ohio State University. His work is in numerous public and private collections including The Columbus Museum of Art, PharmaNet in Princeton NJ and The Wexner Center, Columbus, OH. Stephen Pentak currently lives and works in Stephentown, New York.