Norman Pastorek 
Through my lens

Opening Reception: January 16: 6 - 8pm

Dates:  January 16 – February 14  

The Opening Gallery is pleased to present Dr. Norman Pastorek’s photographic oeuvre for the first time. Although he is best-known for his medical practice, Norman Pastorek started out as a photographer and has not put down his camera in 50 years. Not surprisingly, the surgeon known for his miraculous hands creates photographs that are enchanting, sharp, and breathtaking. Pastorek’s artworks are a vivid portal into his unique imagination and insightful perception. Now, his first retrospective, made up of twenty-two photographs is launched at the Opening Gallery in Tribeca.

Pastorek’s five-decade career spans an extensive range of themes including portraits, city scenes, landscapes, flowers, always defining a deeper, almost cinematic, human experience both beyond and within the realistic and the everyday. The artist transforms the everyday into a panorama, often depicting scenes with an eye toward serenity and liveness, Pastorek’s work balances the permeable threshold between the humans and the world they inhabit.

The solo exhibition gives a broad overview of the years from the 1970s to the present, integrating one comprehensive look at a time that has been sparked by impressive ingenuity, modernization, and creativity. The art that is being created in New York today continues the spirit of vitality, energy, and innovation of the last fifty years, however, Pastorek’s photographs are offering us a unique view and anatomy of Manhattan’s inner operations evoking a sense of the poetic and the transcendent. The artist is seeking beauty in the form of a flower, a movement, an expression, a face and if we were to rephrase, Sir Charles Bell in his 1824 Essays on the Anatomy and Philosophy of Expression, we could note that Pastorek ‘values [the face] not as a mere fixed form of beauty, which may remain like a bust before us, but as the varying index of the mind.’ Aesthetically this series of works nods to the artist’s interest in a piercing unassumingness and simplicity depicting raw life in twenty-two scenes, from spontaneity through experience into confrontation of our humanness.

Through his lens, Pastorek composes a compendium of inspiring and intriguing insights from nature but also from one of the most fascinating world cities, designed for those gravely afflicted by a desire to know just a little bit more, it provides an eclectic collection of colorful and rare moments for the most intrepid explorers of the human condition.   

About The Artist

Dr. Norman Pastorek is a self-taught photographer who is focused on developing a unique personal aesthetic in the visual arts in part drawing from his training in facial plastic surgery. The camera became an essential instrument of documentation of his patients’ progress and an educational tool for teaching other surgeons. However, the artist developed an appreciation and dedication to the camera more than its necessity in his selected profession. As a tactile sensation, he loved the way the camera felt in his hands as an extension of myself. He loved its potential for exploration. Away from the hospital and the operating room, Norman enjoyed his free time wandering the streets, parks, waterfront, and beaches looking for perfect moments to freeze frame, not to share with anyone, but to keep as private reminders of his creativity through the camera. For over 50 years he kept his art practice as a personal archive. He never considered to seek the judgment of others as to the worthiness of his photos. He kept or discarded his film slides based on his own criteria. He was mostly concerned with color, composition exposure, originality, and the story the photo told. And most importantly, he wondered whether the photos would make him smile. Besides, no photographer working today can understand the thrill of waiting a week for the film to be developed. Then opening the box of slides to check if the moment was captured. Dr Pastorek received his medical degree and specialty training at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is a Clinical Professor, Facial Plastic Surgery, at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is a Past-President of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and recipient of the Joseph Medical from the European Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery. Dr. Pastorek is a Lieut. Cmdr., USN.  

The Opening Gallery was launched as an initiative that supports contemporary art and international artists, while it fosters cultural engagement and exchanges between the US and the globe. Proceeds support charitable causes, and the non-profit Luv Michael, which is committed to enriching the lives of autistic adults.