• Katherine Stanek

Art Imitates Architecture

Get to know our artist of the week and co-founder of Stanek Gallery, Katherine Stanek, and how Philadelphia architecture has inspired her work.

Katherine Stanek's work explores the relationship between our environment and the human condition describing how one reflects the experiences of the other. With her sculpture, Stanek aspires to capture the essence of the moment when personal experience and public environment converge resulting in a three dimensional object of beauty and complex emotions. Through Photographs and commentary, the artist shares a glimpse into the images and thoughts that influenced her sculpture:


Location: Chinatown, Philadelphia

This wall exhibits a ghostly image of the past, a silhouette of the structure that once occupied the space. It has since been destroyed and replaced with numbers and patterns that alter the purpose of the space and control its use. During periods of unrest and complete destruction, control and order are necessary but not at the expense of the past.


Location: Metropolitan Opera House Philadelphia

This abandoned building has taken on many forms and purposes over time. The original structure remains intact while the façade struggles to maintain its character as time literally peals away the past. Despite our efforts for reinvention, we cannot escape the essence of who we are. Our origins, like the past, are everlasting. Growth comes from seeing ourselves honestly and embracing who we are as the foundation for who we are becoming.


Location: Athens Greece

This image of poppies emerging from stone fragments of an ancient building serves as a reminder that we cannot stop change. The nature of life is to persevere. If a fragile flower can power through a stone foundation, then surely hope springs eternal for us all.


Location: Parthenon Athens Greece

While reconstruction is what makes this structure accessible, further reconstruction will alter its appearance and it will never be the same bringing to question if we are taking away or giving back its dignity. The same can be said when the deceased are removed from their sacred sites and put on display in museums as is the case with the sacrificed Inca children and Egyptian mummies. By putting them on display, we are treating them like an object, as if they were some sort of Greek column that must be preserved for our viewing. Again the question of dignity presents.


Location: South Philadelphia

The dilapidated building with deteriorating columns hold a steadfast beauty in the composition of color and textures coupled with its persistence and devotion to its purpose. With signs of abandonment and evidence of an impending fate, the columns refuse to concede and remain unaffected as nature attempts to reclaims its space. The current state of neglect is reflected in the exposed fragmented steel and fractured concrete yet the columns patiently and without compromise wait for release from service through the only means possible, complete destruction.

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