Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches / Signed lower left
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Paul Gorka was born in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, the heart of the anthracite coal region. Having an artistic bent that deviated from academic pursuits considered â€śnormalâ€ť for nanticoke, he found an outlet by creating backdrops for school theatrical productions, yearbook designs and welcome home signs for returning World War II veterans. The Korean War interrupted his art education at the University of Pennsylvania. Gorka enlisted in the Air Force and later was released from the Air Force to work in Army Intelligence. Returning to Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he was awarded the prestigious Cresson Award and the Scheidt Traveling Scholarship, the latter of which gave him the opportunity to take a tour of Ireland, where he often â€śpainted for his supper.â€ť His work has been described as â€śfantasy realistâ€ť and further that his works are â€śinterpretations of real people, in a real world, with a sometime phantasmagoric ambience and dream-like symbols driving the action of the paintingâ€ť.
In Gorkaâ€™s own words, â€śI want to do work that causes you to stop, look, puzzle and muse. If you are pleased, thatâ€™s good. If you are irritated, that is better. If you are provoked, thatâ€™s better.â€ť He has been a teacher and lecturer, in addition to his exhibitions for which he has won numerous awards. Gorka maintains a studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We, the owners of Bedford Fine Art Gallery, not knowing the original title, call this painting â€śContemplationâ€ťâ€”we certainly spent some time puzzling and musing over this painting.