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My work is emotionally inspired and viscerally created. With destruction as a vehicle for creation and my custom blend of various cements, aggregates, pigments and other additives, I compose in every stage of development: modeling cement like clay, molding it like plaster and carving it like stone until honesty of content and craft are achieved. When the material performance naturally reveals a color, creates a mark or defines a form, it changes from ordinary medium to an object with a life of its own making the material and process integral to the final image. This notion that human intervention gives life to an otherwise nonliving entity best describes my relationship with my material and my work.
Katherine Stanek was born in Oak Park, Illinois and lived in the Chicago area until her early twenties. Pursuing work and education, Stanek relocated to Philadelphia where she held a full time corporate management position while attending classes part time at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 2002, Katherine resigned her management position and began her career in art at The Pennsylvania Academy receiving a 4-year merit scholarship for her studies.
At The Academy, Stanek was introduced to the traditional sculptural process during her first year and later received several awards in both sculpture and draftsmanship including the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy Fellowship Trust Award for her body of work. Immediately upon graduation, Stanek was invited by notable Philadelphia galleries to exhibit her bronze works with integrated concrete bases. Intrigued by the versatility of the concrete, she began to explore the medium further. After years of self study Stanek developed her own cement formulas designed to manipulate the material in a way that works with her personal aesthetic and is uniquely her own. The result is a sculptural image that reflects the energy of the entire process and the changing characteristics of the material. This marriage of content and craft has gained the attention of collectors and artists alike as she has been invited to exhibit her unique concrete sculptures in many museums, galleries and sculpture gardens.
Katherine’s sculpture has been selected by many important institutions that recognize quality figurative work including the Fundació de les Arts i els Artistes for the Figurativas 2015 competition at the European Museum of Modern Art MEAM, Barcelona Spain and most recently, she was invited to exhibit her sculpture alongside the work of Auguste Rodin in the international exhibition “Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition” at the Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Katherine is the recipient of the George and Helen Segal Foundation Grant and her work has been featured in several publications including The National Sculpture Society’s “Sculpture Review”.
After traveling to Turkey to share her tools and techniques with an international audience, Stanek is now a sought after instructor for sculpting in concrete and her work is collected internationally by universities, museums and important private collectors.