A Taber Art Gallery retrospective on the art of Steven Mulak '97
The Taber Art Gallery at Holyoke Community College presents "Well Seen," a retrospective by painter Steven Mulak, an HCC alumnus from the Class of 1997 and a former HCC art instructor, Aug. 3 through Sept. 13.
"Representational art, as I practice it, is an interpretation of subjects as diverse and familiar as late day shadows or an interesting abstract created by a random arrangement of chairs," Mulak says in a statement in which he calls himself 'an alleged artist.' "It is the 'found' aspect of beauty in everyday things that most appeals to the artist in me. My paintings and drawings endeavor to share the impact of a particular artistic moment with the viewer."
The exhibit opens Thursday, Aug. 3, with a reception and 70th birthday party for Mulak from 4:30 to 8 p.m., and runs through Wed., Sept. 13, with a closing reception from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and gallery talk by Mulak beginning at noon.
Mulak, a resident of Chicopee, earned his associate degree in Visual Arts from HCC in 1997 while working most of his life as an engineer.
"I'm now told I paint like an engineer," he says. "I don't fight it. You can't get away from who you are ... When I came to HCC as a middle-aged student, I met (HCC art professor) Frank Cressotti. He challenged me to reconsider some hide-bound ideas I clung to and see that the ‘art' part of painting could co-exist with the ‘craft.'"
Mulak says he also drew inspiration from the work of John Singer Sargent and other masters.
"Monet showed me that detail need only be suggested, and I know Renoir was talking to me when he said, ‘We should not be afraid to make pretty paintings,'" says Mulak. "Me, I make pictures. I have no wish to be taken seriously. For that matter, I'm unsure if I meet my own definition of the term ‘artist.' Sometimes a painting is just a painting. Still, I remain committed to the interpretive aspect of the representational work I do, and take to heart my fellow painters' compliment of ‘well seen.' I paint in the hopes that the viewer might recognize something of life's ongoing beauty and artistry through my interpretations."
The Taber Art Gallery at HCC is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during regular school sessions. It is free and open to the public and located through the HCC Campus Library lobby on the second floor of the HCC Donahue Building, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke.
For more information, please contact Amy Johnquest, director, Taber Art Gallery, at (413) 552-2614.
IMAGE: New Snow on the Road Above Conway, watercolor on Arches Rough paper, 18x24, 2014, by Steven Mulak