Predominantly a realist still life painter, Robert Stark III confronts the tradition of still life painting by challenging the viewer with dubious arrangements. His arresting compositions portray both interior and exterior settings, capturing the subtle effects of light and shadow to create a particular atmosphere or sense of place. Stark imbues simple objects with personality through his extraordinary ability to render in minute detail their smallest elements and imperfections. These exquisitely realistic, often small-scale paintings invite close scrutiny. Stark strives to pull the viewer in through an implied narrative; his remarkable technical proficiency results in paintings that can be deceivingly loaded with content, action, and intention.
Stark draws strongly from the Dutch still life painters for technique. Through repeated applications of oil glaze the artist has developed a chiaroscuro style that gives the painting and the subject itself a strong sense of depth. Glazing permits the manipulation of pigments to either reflect or absorb light, producing a strong illusion of three-dimensionality. Stark’s compositions also remind us of early Spanish still life painters in their simplicity. He “peoples” his paintings with few objects that, in their placement, seem both random yet distinctly interrelated.
Raised on Nantucket, Robert Stark attended the Taft School and Georgetown University, where he majored in Chinese/Asian studies and Fine Arts. He has since returned to the island to focus on his painting.