The painter Karel Štědrý is among the leading personalities of the generation that entered the Czech art scene during the first decade of the twenty-first century. His work reflects seemingly contradictory sources. In it we can recognize an interest in classical modernism, architecture, as well as in pop culture and its specific expressions such as graffiti, hip-hop, break-dancing and computer games.
He first studied promotional graphics at the Václav Hollar Art School in Prague (1998–2003) and then painting in the studio of Stanislav Diviš at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (2003–2010). He completed his studies with a cycle of paintings titled “Let No One Ignorant of Geometry Enter,” which foreshadowed his further direction within geometric abstraction. In the same year of graduating from the academy, he won the ARSkontakt prize for young artists. While still studying, in 2006, he founded the group Obr (Giant) together with David Hanvald, Ondřej Maleček, Josef Achrer, and Martin Krajc. In 2006, he had his first solo exhibition, titled Architectures, at the 35m2 gallery in Prague, and since then he has had at least one exhibition of his work per year. In 2008, he participated in the international academic Mikulov Art Symposium, in 2012 in symposia in Mikulov and Litomyšl (Young Stars), and in 2017 he was on a creative art residency in Hangzhou, China.
Although Karl Štědrý’s paintings are founded on geometric relationships and proportions, they do not lack spontaneity. They reflect the artist’s personality; reason and emotion, a certain asceticism and playfulness intermingle in the paintings. Their visual friendliness is – in addition to their thoughtful composition – the result of combining acrylic paints and pastels. Other paintings, on the other hand, the painter creates exclusively using his own black, hand-made charcoal. They contain both order and liveliness. They enrich each other, adopting and developing the motifs woven into them. It is noteworthy that in the first stage the artist uses a computer instead of a sketchbook.