Gary Stephan (b.1942-), is an American abstract painter from Brooklyn, NY. He lives an works as a painter and instructor at the School of Visual Arts MFA program, in New York.
Stephan is a postmodern artist known for his uniquely idiosyncratic abstract paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, photography and video art.
His works are abstract in form, but pictorial in nature, using several visual tools and colors, which he then uses to undermine a coherent view. Stephan surrounds his marks with shaped areas of negative space that destabilize figure/ground relationships, using discontinuous areas of similar color that visually unite to create the impression of a singular shape.
As a graduate of Parsons School of Design and the Pratt Institute, he moved on to receive his Masters of Fine Art from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1967. Upon graduation, Stephan returned to New York, where he was a studio assistant to Jasper Johns until he started showing with the David Whitney Gallery in 1970. This, in addition to showing at the Whitney Biennial Exhibitions of 1971 and 1973 prompted the New York Times' art critic, Roberta Smith, to refer to his work as “among the most closely watched developments of the early ’70s.”
His work has been exhibited at institutions such as, the Drawing Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Whitney Museum. He has also had solo shows in New York at the Susan Inglett Gallery, Bykert Gallery, Mary Boone Gallery, Hirschl and Adler, and Marlborough Gallery, and in Los Angeles at Margo Leavin Gallery and Daniel Weinberg Gallery. He had a retrospective exhibition at the Kienzle Art Foundation in Berlin from 13 September 2017 to 13 January 2018