Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to announce an upcoming group exhibition curated by Stephen Pentak.

The show will feature work by Stephen Pentak, Royce Howes, and Richard Roth, and will run from June 22 - July 29, 2023.

Everything is mystery, ourselves, and all things both simple and humble.

(Giorgio Morandi)

Back From the Hike is a celebration of the work of three painters who met in the Tyler School of Art graduate painting program in the late 1970s, and a tribute to their enduring relationship. Though having stylistically divergent practices, and living in different cities, they have remained close intellectually and spiritually, being each other’s critic and devotee, for forty-seven years. They are now exhibiting together for the first time.

The title of the exhibition derives from a camping trip the three artists embarked on as students. In honor of the three friends, their professor, David Pease, titled one of his artworks, “Back from the Hike,” a tip-of-the-hat to Ellsworth Kelly, but also an acknowledgement of the return of Royce, Stephen, and Richard from the hike they took together to Old Rag Mountain in 1976.

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time.

(T. S. Elliot, from “Little Gidding.” Four Quartets)

These paintings that might first appear unrelated, connect below the surface in profound ways. Royce, Richard, and Stephen share an abiding interest in visual form, whether representational or not, that underpins perception.

All three believe paintings have an uncanny ability to transcend their own objecthood. Royce, Richard, and Stephen are also bound by their engagement with the history of painting and the legacy of Modernism. All three embrace the limitations of a chosen form as a path to deeper investigations.

A famous sonnet by William Wordsworth begins:

Nuns fret not their convent's narrow room, /and hermits are contented with their cells; / and students with their pensive citadels.' Wordsworth's point is that what nuns, hermits, and students do is facilitated rather than hindered by the confines of the formal structures they inhabit; because those structures constrain freedom (they remove, says Wordsworth, 'the weight of too much liberty'), they enable movements in a defined space....

That is why Wordsworth reports himself happy 'to be bound / Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground.' It is a scanty plot because it is bounded, and because it is bounded, it can be the generator of boundless meanings.”

(Stanley Fish, from How to Write a Sentence)