One of the giants of Modern Art, Stella worked in many mediums. He was prolific and has influenced fine artists and commercial artists equally, bringing a lively and colorful injection of energy to subsequent generations of artists.
The speech above is an interesting and insightful take on Art Appreciation by Stella in 2011. A must watch for any artist or artist enthusiast.
Frank Stella was born in Malden, Massachusetts. After attending high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, he attended Princeton University, where he majored in history and metDarby Bannard and Michael Fried. Early visits to New York art galleries influenced his artist development, and his work was influenced by the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollock andFranz Kline. Stella moved to New York in 1958, after his graduation. He is one of the most well-regarded postwar American painters still working today. Frank Stella has reinvented himself in consecutive bodies of work over the course of his five-decade career.Notably, he is heralded for creating abstract paintings that bear no pictorial illusions or psychological or metaphysical references in twentieth-century painting.
Upon moving to New York City, he reacted against the expressive use of paint by most painters of the abstract expressionist movement, instead finding himself drawn towards the “flatter” surfaces of Barnett Newman‘s work and the “target” paintings of Jasper Johns. He began to produce works which emphasized the picture-as-object, rather than the picture as a representation of something, be it something in the physical world, or something in the artist’s emotional world. Stella married Barbara Rose, later a well-known art critic, in 1961. Around this time he said that a picture was “a flat surface with paint on it – nothing more”. This was a departure from the technique of creating a painting by first making a sketch. Many of the works are created by simply using the path of the brush stroke, very often using common house paint.
Stella began his extended engagement with printmaking in the mid-1960s, working first with master printer Kenneth Tyler at Gemini G.E.L. Stella produced a series of prints during the late 1960s starting with a print called Quathlamba I in 1968. Stella’s abstract prints in lithography, screenprinting, etching and offset lithography (a technique he introduced) had a strong impact upon printmaking as an art.
From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Stella created a large body of work that responded in a general way to Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. During this time, the increasingly deep relief of Stella’s paintings gave way to full three-dimensionality, with sculptural forms derived from cones, pillars, French curves, waves, and decorative architectural elements. To create these works, the artist used collages or maquettes that were then enlarged and re-created with the aid of assistants, industrial metal cutters, and digital technologies.
In the 1990s, Stella began making free-standing sculpture for public spaces and developing architectural projects. In 1993, for example, he created the entire decorative scheme for Toronto’sPrincess of Wales Theatre, which includes a 10,000-square-foot mural. His 1993 proposal for a kunsthalle and garden in Dresden did not come to fruition. In 1997, he painted and oversaw the installation of the 5,000-square-foot “Stella Project” which serves as the centerpiece of the theater and lobby of the Moores Opera House located at the Rebecca and John J. Moores School of Music on the campus of the University of Houston, in Houston, TX. His aluminum bandshell, inspired by a folding hat from Brazil, was built in downtown Miami in 2001; a monumental Stella sculpture was installed outside the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.