TRACY - The City of Tracy – Cultural Arts Division presents Kunstlerleben – From Budapest to the Valley – Stephen Gyermek Retrospective from June 25 through July 23.
The opening reception with artist meet-n-greet hors d’oeuvres and refreshments is sponsored by the Arts Leadership Alliance/Grand Foundation and scheduled for Saturday, June 25, from noon to 2 p.m. A Gallery Talk is scheduled for Saturday, July 9, from noon to 2 p.m. All of these associated events are free and open to the public.
Kunstlerleben presents a symbolic and thematic retrospective of works by master artist, Stephen Gyermek. Gyermek, of Stockton, has impacted communities across four countries as an artist, designer, museum director, art historian and arts educator. This premiere exhibition features dozens of works, including drawings, paintings and woodblock prints from age 10 to the present, with an insider’s view into artmaking practice through the artist’s life. Signature works in his career include large format stained glass installations, woodcuts, portraiture and recent still life paintings.
Stephen (Istvan) Gyermek is a fourth generation artist from Hungary. In 1948 he fled from communist occupation, and in 1949 was accepted into the Fine Arts Academy in Amsterdam (Rijkakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten.) While in Holland, Stephen studied drawing, painting, printmaking, art history, heraldy, monumental art, murals and stained glass under the guidance of Heinich Campendonk. Campendock was core member of the German Expressionists who believed in the promotion of modern art and endured Nazi persecution. Gyermek’s time at the Academy would influence early works in stained glass, painting and woodblock prints exploring folk, family and religious themes.
In 1953 he would travel to Spain in receipt of a scholarship to the Madrid Academy of Fine Arts. While continuing his education in art restoration and art history, Stephen taught languages and private art lessons. In addition he began to work commercially for the U.S. Information Office in Madrid and also created an important mosaic works. In 1957 he and his wife, Elise, immigrated to America via Oklahoma. At St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, Stephen managed the museum collection that included scientific and historic objects, taught Spanish, Art History and Drawing, and was the stained glass Artist-In-Residence. The monastic Refectory at St. Gregory’s features Stephen’s beautiful custom glasswork. Also while in Oklahoma, he received an M.F.A. from the University of Oklahoma at Norman where he also taught and served the University Museum. In 1965 Gyermek relocated to Stockton as Director of the Haggin Museum. He also began teaching at Delta College. In 1970 he left the museum as tenured professor and revived his work in woodcuts. Stephen retired from Delta in 1998 and continues to live and create artworks in Stockton.