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Stephen Pace: Reflections

Berry Campbell Gallery is pleased to announce an important exhibition of representational paintings by Stephen Pace (1918-2010). Stephen Pace: Reflections is a survey spanning fifty years of the artist’s career, including eighteen paintings and works on paper. Though noted as a significant second-generation Abstract Expressionist from 1949 to 1962, Stephen Pace painted representational imagery grounded in minimalism, using broad brush strokes and negative spaces to create lively Post-Impressionist inspired scenes of everyday life.

Stephen Pace: Reflections
In 1961, the noted critic Thomas Hess recognized Stephen Pace’s place as an Abstract Expressionist, writing in the introduction to a show of his work: “Pace is a brilliant member of the second generation of New York School painters [who] burst on the scene in the early 1950s, fully made, as if from the forehead of the Statue of Liberty.”(1) Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, and Milton Resnick were among the other artists Hess had in mind. As art historian Martica Sawin noted of Pace’s art of this time: “The brush dragged across rough underpainting, the strategic drip, the brusque cancellation of any suggestion of latent image or defined shape, the look of struggle built into the layers of paint, the breaking apart of anything that might hint at order -these are all hallmarks of the work of the younger Abstract Expressionists.”(2)

Just after his inclusion in a major show in Cleveland, Stephen Pace turned his attention from abstraction back to representation. In the 1940s, Pace painted in a traditional language, rendering still lifes and portraits. After studying with Hans Hofmann, he moved into the world of nonobjective painting. Inspired by several trips to Maine and longing to return to his roots, Pace began painting representational imagery defined by Martica Sawin as “Minimal Figuration.”(3) His subject matter references his visits to Maine, where he lives for much of his life, his youth in Indiana and Missouri, along with reclining nudes and flowers. This post-1962 style is characterized by remnants of his Abstract Expressionist brushwork, broad and bold planes of color with large areas of negative space, which results in lively Post-Impressionist scenes inspired by everyday life. This is the manner in which he would continue to paint for over fifty years.

Of his post-1962, representational work, Peter Frank writes for 57th Street Review: “When, after a long period of relative invisibility, Stephen Pace had a solo show in New York – June of 1964, if I remember correctly, at Howard Wise – there was a great commotion over the fact that he was painting, gasp, figures! Not that figure painting had become so rare, especially not by then. Pace had been a promising member of the Abstract Expressionists’ second generation; it was not his conversion to representation that raised eyebrows, it was the kind of representational work he was doing. Pace had not thrown in his lot with the Pop artists or any other such New Imagists. Nor, however, had he taken up the restrained impressionism—such as that of Fairfield Porter, Elias Goldberg, Nell Blaine, and others—which has characterized a large and significant segment of New York painting since the second world war. No, Pace was insisting on having his cake and eating it, too – painting different things in the same way he used to paint. Pace painted his people and animals and buildings just as he had painted abstract forms and fields, maintaining various aspects of his Abstract Expressionist style: the large formats, the vivid, right-out-of-the tube color sense, and the painterly stroke that bespoke not just the hand’s motion, but the whole arm’s.”

(1) Thomas Hess, catalogue essay, Stephen Pace and George McNeil exhibition (New York: Howard Wise Gallery, 1961). The exhibition was held at the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham Massachusetts; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio.
(2) Martica Sawin, “Stephen Pace: Action Painting in Two Modes,” Arts (April 1987), p. 72. Sawin is the author of the monograph, Stephen Pace (New York: Hudson Hills, 2004).
(3) Martica Sawin, “Stephen Pace,” (New York and Manchester: Hudson Hills Press, 2004.

Berry Campbell is pleased to represent the Estate of Stephen Pace. Additionally, Berry Campbell, along with the Stephen and Palmina Pace Foundation, have organized the exhibition, Stephen Pace and Provincetown, in conjunction with the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Massachusetts. This exhibition will focus on Pace’s time in Provincetown studying with Hans Hofmann. The show will open at the museum on July 12, 2019 and will run through September 1, 2019.

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Date

Mar 21 - Apr 20, 2019

Contact

info@berrycampbell.com >

Photos

Installation view of Stephen Pace: Reflections

Berry Campbell Gallery, New York

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Installation view of Stephen Pace: Reflections

Berry Campbell Gallery, New York

Artworks

Stephen Pace > <

Two Islands, Sunny Day (04-9M)

Lily Pond, Blue Heron

Six Sunflowers

Six Sunflowers, Five Stalks

Wild Horses (96-6)

Mycologist and cat (94-9)

Windjammer in Fog #1 (93-5)

Moving Lobster Crates (92-5)

Sardine Boat in Fog (90-5)

Ostrich Courtship (89-13)

At Co-op Pier Loading Bait (86-12)

Greenhead Reflections, Clouded Sea (86-DSW8)

Dotted Blouse (79-08)

Gulls and Pier (78-7A)

Reflections (72-9)

Self Portrait, Stonington (72-5)

Woman in Black Bikini (67-2)

Grey Nude (65-13)

Untitled

Untitled

Woman Shelling Peas

Stephen Pace > <

Two Islands, Sunny Day (04-9M)

Lily Pond, Blue Heron

Six Sunflowers

Six Sunflowers, Five Stalks

Wild Horses (96-6)

Mycologist and cat (94-9)

Windjammer in Fog #1 (93-5)

Moving Lobster Crates (92-5)

Sardine Boat in Fog (90-5)

Ostrich Courtship (89-13)

At Co-op Pier Loading Bait (86-12)

Greenhead Reflections, Clouded Sea (86-DSW8)

Dotted Blouse (79-08)

Gulls and Pier (78-7A)

Reflections (72-9)

Self Portrait, Stonington (72-5)

Woman in Black Bikini (67-2)

Grey Nude (65-13)

Untitled

Untitled

Woman Shelling Peas

Artists

Stephen Pace

Charleston