Frank Stella, Double Mitered Maze (1967). All images on site for Art Observed by Ana Marjanovic.
Paul Kasmin gallery hosts Geometric Variations, an exhibition assembling Frank Stella’s square-shaped canvases from the 1960s and ’70s, including Concentric Square, Mitered Mazes and the Benjamin Moore series. According to the press release, the exhibition explores the “historical importance” of Stella’s canvases. Contextualizing them within Western art history discourse, H.H. Arnason pointed out that Stella’s art represents a median between the “modernism advocated by Greenberg, and Minimalism.”
More text and images after the jump…
Geometric Variations, installation view.
Non-figurative painting, according to Greenberg, has emphasized the material qualities of the medium as it progressively abandoned any formal resemblance with the real world. Greenberg’s formalism favored two-dimensionality of the canvas instead of illusionistic volume. Although Geometric Variations do not stand in opposition to this viewpoint, the exhibited canvases challenged the flatness of pictorial space through use of color.
Frank Stella, Grey Scramble X (Double) (1968)
In Grey Scramble X (Double), Stella divided the surface in a series on concentric squares. He then painted the fields between the dividing lines in different colors. Though he used ‘minimal’ means of geometric line and color, the arrangement of colored fields on the canvas create the illusion of depth. Stella explained “Concentric Squares created a pretty high, pretty tough pictorial standard. Their simple, rather humbling effect—almost a numbing power—became a sort of ‘control’ against which my increasing tendency in the seventies to be extravagant could be measured.”
Frank Stella, [left] New Madrid (1961), [right] Sacramento Proposal #3 (1978)
Frank Stella, Untitled (1966)
Exhibition Page [Paul Kasmin]