An exhibit of 20 paintings by the late Alan Stacell, a prolific artist and former professor of architecture at Texas A&M who for 40 years served as teacher, mentor and friend to a legion of student designers, will be on display through June 29 at the Wright Gallery, located on the second floor of Building A in the Langford Architecture Center on the Texas A&M campus.
Stacell often painted on both sides of a canvas, and in late May pieces in the exhibit, “The Cerebral Gesture: The Paintings of Alan Stacell,” were flipped to display work that wasn't visible at the exhibit's April 5 opening.
The exhibit offers a rare opportunity to see his work. Few of his paintings appear in museums or galleries because Stacell, who passed away in 2001, gave many of his paintings and drawings as gifts to brighten the worlds of colleagues, students and friends, said Stephen Caffey, curator of the exhibit and assistant professor of architecture.
“Stacell’s magnanimity matched his extraordinary intellectual generosity as an educator and mentor,” said Caffey.
The paintings, a mix of figurative and abstract works, demonstrate the range, diversity and vibrancy of Stacell’s work.
“Through his frenetic lines, rapid brushstrokes and masterful effects of simultaneous contrast, viewers can almost hear, taste and touch the colors and forms in Stacell’s pieces,” said Caffey.
Themes recur throughout the paintings, said Caffey, with multiple but always fresh explorations of the classical nude, the rural and the urban, nature and culture, labor and leisure, isolation and intimacy, the individual and the crowd and the universal and the vernacular.
“Whether figurative or abstract, Stacell's surfaces resonate with an intensely cerebral energy, attesting to the unassuming but potent intellect of their maker," said Caffey.
In addition to his legacy as a painter, Stacell is fondly remembered by his former students as one of their most beloved professors.
"He was in tune with his students and excited about teaching," said Patrick Winn, one of a group of his former students who designed and built a 43-foot tower in Stacell’s memory that stood in the Langford atrium for almost six years. "He instilled in us an incredible passion and created an indelible legacy that lives on in the many students whose lives he has profoundly touched."
The tower, built from an innovative design based on a Stacell sketch, was removed in 2008 due to structural concerns, but a new tower to honor Stacell was designed and built in 2009.