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< Running Red T-Bird>, 2012-2021
Physical work -<The Red T-Bird>, 2012, oil on canvas, 12ⅹ20 inch,
As a child, cars were giant machines controlled by the adult world, the grown ups. Eventually I grew up to drive them myself. I came from the middle class. To become an artist I had to leave behind the bourgeois illusion of suburban perfection and material comfort for the downtown chaos of Bohemia, where all the straight lines were interrupted, broken, bent, by circumstance, decay, neglect, and violence, weather, time and over use.
The perfection, the symphony of rectangular design of the Suburban World became a refuge for me, a go-to comfort zone where the material world sells itself optimism. So many people are defined by the automobile they choose to drive. It represents their attitude, their station in the hierarchy. It is the embodiment of their desires realized. In painting the cars, I am painting their desires. That is why my carscapes are empty of people. People are unnecessary, the cars have replaced them. Their forms, shapes and colors tell their story.
Stephen Lack (b. 1946-, Canada)
Born in Montreal, Canada, Stephen Lack moved to the East Village in the early 1980s, where he began working on and exhibiting his paintings. Over the past four decades, Lack’s works have been known for persistently disclosing the violence and anxiety behind the mythos of American society and its way of life for the middle class, and have earned him an international audience.
In the early 80s, Lack painted a series inspired by wrestling derived imagery as well as a series on confrontations with police and figures of authority. These works embodied the tension and the spirit of resistance towards the conservative policies of the Reagan administration and the motivations of a corporate autocracy. Later, his Burning Cars series, which highlighted the tension between the peaceful, idyllic scenery of Suburbia and the myths that supported that illusion, led him to be invited to lecture at the Design Department at Ford Motor Company. Lack’s works include a variety of mediums, from drawings to sculpture, and are especially known for their strong Neo-expressionist imagery. His instinctive and energetic brushstrokes and bright, upbeat colors draw a contrast with the underlying content of his paintings, and contribute to his work’s fascinating and timeless qualities.
Throughout the years, Lack has painted and exhibited his works alongside many other East Village artists, including Jean Michel Basquiat, Martin Wong, James Romberger, and more. Currently, Stephen Lack is participating in a number of solo and group shows. A book on his paintings “When Are You Coming Home?” with a forward by Carlo McCormick has just been published by Xeno-Optic Press, and will be available soon. His works are housed in over thirty major private and institutional collections and museums, including The New York Public Library, The Brooklyn Museum, The Chase Bank Collection, and the Ralph Lauren Family Collection. In 2020, he received the New York Acker Award for painting.
Lack studied Psychology at McGill University as well as courses in sculpture at Columbia University, NYC and Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal. He received a master’s degree in sculpture from the University of Guanajuato. Lack also starred in a number of movies before fully committing himself to his art practice.
Catalogue: East Village NY: Vulnerable and Extreme. Seoul Museum of Art 2018
Terry Graff: Essay; “Stephen Lack Paintings” ‘When are you coming home’ published 2020 Xeno-Optic Press; St Thomas University; Fredricton NB 2021
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