Raimonds Staprans: Art of Tranquility and Turbulence

Staprans began working in the Bay Area in the 1950s at a time when other artists in that region were rediscovering figurative painting. With Abstract Expressionism at the forefront of American painting, these artists, which included Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Roland Peterson, and Wayne Thiebaud—often referred to as the Bay Area Figurative artists—explored inventive new ways to depict traditional subject matter—the figure, landscape, and still life. Staprans created his own distinctive niche within this movement through his pared down compositions and his rich, saturated palette. Although Stapransí work bears connections to the work of these artists, curator Dr. Paul Karlstrom notes a psychological distance from other Bay Area Figurative artists: the paintings rarely depict the human figure and therefore lack the specific drama that it suggests. However, what distinguishes Staprans above all is the degree to which he infuses his realist art with psychological concerns and self-revelation, resulting in the turbulence and tranquility of the exhibition’s title.