The Kent Place Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Jason Stopa from Sept. 9 through Oct. 4. There will be a reception for the artist from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27.
Stopa’s paintings in this show are playful, vivid and refer to childhood experiences. The “Joggie” referred to in the show’s title was Stopa’s imaginary childhood friend, and 1983 refers to the year the artist was born. Both imagination and memory are deeply embedded themes in these paintings. At the same time, the works are dynamic abstract statements of the possibilities of paint, with passages alternately thickly troweled or thinly brushed, using combinations of acrylic, oil, enamel, spray paint and, at times, glitter. Iconic images of basketball nets, watermelons, rainbows and more float on scintillating painterly fields, as if in the mind’s eye.
“I make abstract paintings with representational references,” said Stopa. “Currently, my palette is limited to pastels, neon and blacks. I'm interested in making work where the frame/edge is pronounced, where pattern becomes form and where there is a marked distinction between thin and thick handling.”
Adds Stopa, “I have two bodies of work for this show. One is Joggie. The other is the Brooklyn Zoo. I grew up on the East Coast and the Brooklyn Zoo series is a group of paintings that reference urban settings. Basketball, food and hip hop music find their way into these works.”
According to Kent Place Gallery Director Ken Weathersby, “Stopa’s paintings present something direct and evocative with complexity. There is always a tie in to personal experience in a way that moves beyond the personal. I see a social dimension in Stopa’s art, something that resonates with both humor and a critical edge, as the images situate themselves in relation to the broader field of historic and contemporary painting. We ask, ‘What is generally seen as an iconic thing, and what is iconic in these paintings?’ and for the sensitive viewer there emerges a kind of identification with the ‘voice’ of the artist and the mood evoked here. I think it is wonderful to start the season at Kent Place Gallery with this rewarding show.”
Stopa’s work has been presented in numerous exhibitions in New York City including the Janet Kurnatowksi Gallery, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and the Bull & Ram Gallery. He holds an MFA from Pratt Institute, NY.
Kent Place Gallery is on the campus of Kent Place School, 42 Norwood Avenue, Summit, NJ. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information call (908) 273-0900, or visit www.kentplace.org/gallery.