Lyman Allyn Art Museum

Connecticut College

New London, CT




Stephen Lack

October 3 through January 3, 1998


Introduction to the Stephen Lack Exhibition Catalogue

by Charles A. Shepard, III, Director

This catalog, and the corresponding exhibition of Stephen Lack's paintings, is the result of the Museum's commitment to organize exhibitions of the work of important contemporary artists. The evolution of the concept driving this particular grouping of Stephen's work was hard won.

Initially, in studio visits graciously arranged by gallery owner Joyce Goldstein in the Spring of 1996, my then-assistant Sarah Delgado and I were drawn to Stephen's super-charged "New American scene" landscapes and elegant "still lives" of sleek automobiles. Charmed by the fluidity of his brush and intensity of his palette, we began planning a show.

In late 1996, Toni Hulse joined the curatorial team, and we began to refine our selection of his work with a 1997 date in mind for an exhibition. However, as compelling as we found these landscapes and automobiles, we grew increasingly drawn to a different, darker side of Stephen's work: pictures alluding to societal alienation, institutionalization, crime, abuse, and issues of power and control.

Slowly recognizing that an exhibit focusing solely on Stephen's "innocent" paintings was inadequate as a statement of his real contribution to contemporary American painting, we abandoned our target exhibition date and spent close to an additional year creating this stronger, more definitive exhibition that brings more fully to light Stephen's under-recognized prowess as a powerful contemporary social realist.

The unrelenting effort of Toni Hulse '97 to make the production and presentation of this exhibition a success needs special recognition. Her unflappable calm throughout hours of planning meetings and telephone calls, her diligent untangling of countless production snarls, and her assiduous attention to detail throughout the entire process sets a new benchmark of curatorial professionalism. The quiet, consistent and substantial contribution of curatorial assistant Nikki Bunnell '97 to this project additionally deserves special praise. I'd also like to commend the sustained effort of curatorial intern Kyle Klewin '00 and exhibit installation volunteer Tom Vendola.

I would also want to call attention to the extraordinary effort of Susan Hendricks '94 whose commitment to the success of the production of this catalog was unparalleled. Special thanks also to Susan Lindberg, the catalog's designer, for her consistently superb eye and unflagging patience with my proclivity for change.

We are particularly indebted to Carter Ratcliff, John K. Grande, and Carlo McCormick for their insightful and provocative writings for the catalog. Their individual contributions to the field of contemporary art are inspiring; their collective intelligence contributed to this project immeasurably. We relied on a number of people to help us assemble the particular grouping of pictures necessary to make this exhibition successful. We are truly appreciative of the generosity of collectors Charles Klewin, Kyle Klewin, David Cronenberg, The Speyer Family, Linda Sandow, Nancy Apthorp, the Gallerie de Bellefeuille and other private collectors.

The ongoing contribution of Acting Director of Education Dawn Estabrooks deserves mention as her decent training efforts are the foundation of our ability to introduce significant and challenging works of art to the lay public.

Finally, I would like to thank Stephen, whose work and being are at the center of this whole endeavor. He not only provided the paintings, the energy, and the patience for this project, he also gave us a reason to believe in painting. And for that we shall ever be in his debt.

From top to bottom: Fallen Bicycle, 1993, 80 x 54 inches, acrylic on canvas; Industrial Parking, 1994, 18 x 24 inches, oil on linen; Landscape at Sixty Miles an Hour, 1992, 46 x 72 inches, oil on canvas; Home from School, 1986, 48 x 64 inches, oil on linen; The Boys of Summer, 1991, 4 x 6 feet, acrylic on canvas; L. A. Porsche, 1994, 4 x 6 feet, oil on canvas; The Pass III, 1996, 4 x 6 feet, acrylic on canvas; Park Bench, 1986, 4 x 6 feet, oil on canvas.

rev. 9/20/10

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