Philadelphia Artist James Brantley kicks off the Stanek Gallery Master Artist Series with a First Friday opening reception in Old City.
As the world negotiates a new definition of normal, it’s great to see the return of art events in Philly on the first Friday evening of every month. Leading the rebound is famed artist James Brantley, an established neo-impressionist landscape and portrait painter whose latest works are exhibited in the Stanek Gallery Master Artist Series, Intimate Spaces. Committed to creating an engaging forum where art can be seen, shared, and discussed, the Stanek Gallery has become a premier source for fine art in Philadelphia.
“This year, we initiated a Master Artist Series of online exhibitions to serve as a virtual mentor while reaching the important audience that enables us to continue our efforts,” explained Katherine Stanek, Gallery Owner and Director. “Guiding us is the concept of empowerment by example through increased visibility of career artists who had to make their own opportunities and succeeded. We aspire to tell their artistic and human story in the context of their work. Show their evolution through their craft across their careers. Our first artist to be featured is James Brantley which includes an exhibition of his new work opening this week.”
Brantley was born in Philadelphia in 1945, and artistic creation has been central to the artist from his earliest days. After graduating from Simon Gratz High School, he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) and was drafted into the Army a year later to serve in Vietnam. After an honorable discharge in 1966, resumed his studies at PAFA, completing a four-year Certificate Program in Painting in 1971. He then enrolled in the General Studies Program at The Philadelphia College of Art in 1971, and later studied 19th and 20th Century Art History at the University of Pennsylvania in 1972.
Brantley’s works are included in numerous public and private collections, from the Woodmere Art Museum, located in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, to the US Department of State Collection in the United States Embassy Freetown, Sierra Leone. His debut work, “Brother James (1968),” was acquired by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1970 after famous realist painter Andrew Wyeth notably admired its composition. Brantley has also won awards for his work, including the Hallgarten Price from the National Academy of Design and the Louis Fine Purchase Award from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.
Called by an irresistible impulse to create, Brantley is a compelling storyteller who continues to remain true to his artistic vision and personal identity as an artist.
“My journey as an artist has not been an easy choice,” recalled Brantley in a statement. “There were constant reminders of not being appreciated in this life. These concerns were from family, friends, educators, or just total strangers. I want people to know that I have the determination of a pit bull dog: once I bite, I hold on until I’m done. Young artists need to have that dog, crocodile, wolverine, or whatever it takes to persevere. Find one person that believes in your voice and sing to them.”
Intimate Spaces, featuring work by James Brantley, Treacy Ziegler and Kathy Loev Putnam continues from May 7 through June 26, 2021, with an opening reception on First Friday, May 7th, 2021 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Stenack Gallery, 242 N. 3rd Street, in Old City Philadelphia.