Madelyn Jordon Fine Art STANFORD KAY: Collected Works


Madelyn Jordon Fine Art is pleased to present our first solo exhibition of original paintings by acclaimed contemporary New York artist, Stanford Kay entitled Collected Works from January 31 – March 15, 2014. An opening reception will be held Friday, January 31, 2013 from 6-8PM. The artist will be present and the public is invited.  Previews and private showings are by appointment only.

On exhibition will be 10 paintings from the artist’s ongoing “Gutenberg Variations” series. A studio painter for more than 25 years, Kay is primarily known for lyrical, painterly canvases depicting books— rigidly standing straight up on bookshelves, casually piled on tabletops, or stacked in sections on thin shelves.  This single subject has been the springboard for a rich body of work of formal beauty which simultaneously references larger societal issues.  Using gridded compositions of thickly painted lines and riotous color, these paintings have the satisfying geometry of a fully stocked library, overflowing with ideas, adventure and knowledge.  While no book titles are visible, hints of subject and theme are, at times, conveyed in the paintings’ titles, decorative book covers, or objects on the library shelf.

Both paintings and books are vessels for ideas, experience and memory. The books we read, the objects we collect, and the paintings we love and choose to live with, define us. A book requires the reader to assemble images and ideas out of its signs and symbols. Likewise, a painting asks that you translate its strokes and drips into reason and emotion.

Learning Curve at first appears to be an unsteady pile of books about to collapse or possibly not move at all because it is so well stacked and balanced. In Posthumous Kay fills the space and maybe suggests the space is not confining at all. My Back Pages, Bluesette does not give the viewer a place to rest one’s eye encouraging the viewer to continue to wonder and daydream.

Kay’s chosen subject is especially compelling when considering the diminishing place of physical books, and painting in contemporary society.  With digital libraries, the Kindle, and decline in printed media, Kay’s paintings evoke our disquieting acknowledgment of a pastime forever lost. 

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Kay received his BFA from Pratt Institute and is a fellow in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.  Other grants received include the Puffin Foundation, The Gunk Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has exhibited extensively throughout New York City and the surrounding areas in both solo and group exhibitions. Kay has also been featured in various articles such as NY Arts Magazine and Culture Catch.