Steven Strenk Debuts New Work with "In Transition"

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY SEP 22, 2017

Following up on the heels (and hooves) of The Dog & Pony Show, Ringling College of Art and Design debuts new work from local artist Steven Strenk with In Transition. Featuring 13 works from the Ringling instructor and SARTQ artist, the exhibition opens in the Selby Foundation Gallery Sep. 29 with an opening reception featuring the artist, and runs through Oct. 14.

With In Transition, Strenk turns his eye to familiar Florida subjects—boats and surfing—but with a marked absence of actual boating, surfing or people at all. “I didn’t want to paint the conventional,” he says. Instead, Strenk captures those moments of potential energy before and after, with surfboards stacked on trucks, boats on trailers and wetsuits hanging off the car door. The audience never knows which, allowing the imagination to fill in the gaps—is this the calm before the storm or a moment of clarity following its passing? Minus any human subject to contaminate the narrative, observers have only their artifacts to guide them.

“It becomes more about the color,” says Strenk. “It becomes more about the pattern that’s created and the textures that are created.” Working in acrylics, Strenk forgoes the painter’s brush in favor of what he calls squeegees, which function akin to a palette knife. He’s also pushing himself in terms of scale, creating pieces both mammoth and contained, and reveling in the freedom. “This is old school again,” he says. “It’s bringing me back to the nitty-gritty of painting.”

Opening Sep. 29 in the Selby Foundation Gallery at Ringling College, In Transition runs through Oct. 14.

Pictured: "All Accounted For" by Steven Strenk. Image courtesy of Steven Strenk.

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