An artist whose work evokes both memory and the "gaps, sinkholes, and other chasms" found in our experiences, Gael Stack is one of the most accomplished American painters working today. Her large canvases and smaller drawings use fragments of words and images, often layered over one another like a palimpsest, to create a visual language that explores the past's implacable hold on the present, with what is unknown and unspoken occasionally poking through. Serendipitous elements of graciousness and optimism also distinguish her recent work.
Gael Stack is the first retrospective monograph on the artist's career, which has spanned four decades. It features a catalog of some one hundred works reproduced in full-color, full-page plates. Accompanying the images are essays by Raphael Rubinstein and Alison de Lima Greene, who discuss Stack's work in the context of world art. Rubinstein likens her paintings to Freud's "mystic writing-pad," a surface layer that can be endlessly written upon, erased, and refilled, while the underlying tablet retains traces of all that has been written—an apt metaphor for the workings of perception and memory. Greene also reflects on the theme of memory in Stack's art, particularly the ways in which memory can evolve into forgetfulness and cognizance can become ignorance. Lists of selected exhibitions and public collections in which her work has been featured and a bibliography complete this authoritative survey of Stack's career.
Gael Stack has exhibited in museums and galleries nationally and internationally. Her work is in numerous permanent collections, including the Beaux Art Museum, Saintes, France; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, Illinois; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Menil Collection, Houston. She is the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Art at the University of Houston, where she formerly headed a department that has become the region's premier training ground for the visual arts.
A contributing editor at Art in America, Raphael Rubinstein is a poet, art critic, and author of numerous books.
Alison de Lima Greene is the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Rackstraw Downes is a realist painter who has been celebrated as a master of the American landscape. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2009.
Foreword (Rackstraw Downes)
Gael Stack: Reinventing the Mystic Writing Pad (Raphael Rubinstein)
All That Remains: The Art of Gael Stack (Alison de Lima Greene)
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