Frank Stella reacted in the late 50’s, against the expressive use of paint by the abstract expressionists. He began emphasized the picture-as-object, rather than the picture as a representation of something physical or emotional.
Frank Stella photographed by Ugo Mulas at work in his New York studio.
Frank Stella gained recognition with his series of coolly impersonal black striped paintings which follow a natural progression of dynamism, tactility, and scale: first, by expanding his initial monochrome palette to bright colors, and, later, moving painting into the third dimension through the incorporation of other, non-painterly elements onto the canvas.
Stella’s paintings of interlocking vectors and parallel stripes in crazy right-angled patterns loom like cold iconsindestructible, aloof hieroglyphs that stand outside of time and space. His art transcends the boundaries between painting, sculpture and architecture.
” There’s always been a trend toward simpler painting and it was bound to happen one way or another. Whenever painting gets complicated, like Abstract-Expressionism, or Surrealism, there’s going to be someone who’s not painting complicated paintings, someone who’s trying to simplify.” -Frank Stella.
Stella’s virtually relentless experimentation has made him a key figure in American modernism, helping give rise to such developments as Minimalism, Post-Painterly Abstraction, and Color Field painting.
In 1970, at age 34, Stella became the youngest artist to be given a full-scale retrospective at MOMA.
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