Stanka Kordic (b. 1962),
Stanka Kordic (b. 1962), "Witness," 2023, oil on cradled birch panel, 24 x 36 in.

Stanka Kordic: The Space Between
Stanek Gallery, Philadelphia
Through August 19, 2023

Stanek Gallery is presenting the first solo show mounted in a decade by the artist Stanka Kordic. In 2018 she made a powerful impression on Philadelphia art lovers as a participant in Stanek’s groundbreaking group exhibition, “Disrupted Realism.”

Its title became universal shorthand for the growing number of contemporary figurative painters who deploy abstraction strategically. The title of Kordic’s upcoming show, “The Space Between,” points to her ongoing interest in the areas between reality and abstraction, between light and dark, between the emotions they evoke.

Born in Cleveland to Croatian parents, Kordic studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art and worked as an illustrator before devoting herself to fine art in 1988. Today, based in Bedford, Ohio, she proceeds slowly to capture the sensations vibrating all around, applying and removing layers of paint over weeks or months. Like a shoot unfurling from a seed, the process is gradual, the effect dynamic.

Much of her work meditates on the interconnections between man and nature — or, more accurately, woman and nature: feminine forms in sylvan settings are Kordic’s most frequent motif. She uses models she already knows, but believes that a compelling portrait transcends likeness; it is not the subject so much as the sensation that registers most strongly in her images, which emit a natural energy, a maternal vitality, a rare melding of rhythm and stillness.

For most viewers, Kordic explains, “The figure is the trigger to the familiar. They follow the figure to the painting’s more ambiguous passages. Then, something changes — a subtle shift that is actually felt, not visible. An expansiveness occurs, and so many possibilities of seeing and feeling become apparent.”

Never exhibited before, the paintings at Stanek will underscore Kordic’s capacity to disrupt, overlay, and represent various realities while creating distinctive images rooted in the actual. “This is my declaration of independence as a woman in the world,” she declares.

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