KATHERINE STANEK, sculptor
photo by Bill Horin
For Katherine Stanek, the joy of creation is as much about the process as the end result.
“I was casting bronze as a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and found real fascination with the process – the intense physical work of getting from clay to finished bronze,” she explains.
But the pieces were small and seemed less than worthy of all the work that went into them. She wanted to work bigger. “So I started sculpting large concrete pedestals to hold the bronze work and I discovered the process of manipulating the concrete invigorating.”
It wasn’t long before she began sculpting in concrete. She still works in bronze but loves concrete because it combines properties of so many other media.
“When it’s wet, I can mold it like clay. Later when it’s not quite cured, it can be carved almost like plaster. Then it gets like soapstone. And in the end, it’s like hard stone that can be chiseled, ground and polished.”
Each stage brings its own properties and demands, responding in a unique way to the artist and her tools. “There is a level of physical intensity throughout the process. It contributes to what I am saying about the piece and in the life of the final work.”
The work is dramatic, impressive in its mass and thought provoking, often uniting dramatic movement and steadfast immobility in the same piece.
Her work has been displayed throughout New Jersey and in Philadelphia, most recently in exhibitions the Perkins Center for the Arts, Collingswood; the Noyes Museum of Art Hammonton Gallery; the Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Long-term installations are on view at the Straube Center, Pennington; Burlington County College, Pemberton and the Noyes Museum of Art, Oceanville.