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Artist Frank Stella ’Polychrome Relief’ On Exhibit At Paul Kasmin Gallery

Originally Posted: November 02, 2009


Sculptures by artist Frank Stella "Polychrome Relief" are on exhibit at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York City. Photos by Eileen Casey

New York City - Artist Frank Stella is on exhibit at the Paul Kasmin Gallery (293 Tenth Avenue, New York City) through November 7. The exhibition, "Polychrome Relief," features relief sculptures, and presents viewers with an interesting interpretation of these three-dimensional art forms.

"Composed of coils, lattices and geometric volumes shot through with steel tubing, these works pull the eye along twists and turns that are both muscular and lyrical. Each change in vantage point reveals a new composition, while the bright, industrial coloring used on many of the works highlights their gestural passage through space" according to the Gallery. The sheer number of works and various sizes all incorporate a spectrum of 'automotive' paint colors, metals and shapes that allow the viewer to realize the endless possibilites of manipulation of hard materials that Stella has devised into soft, perhaps even ethereal compositions.

In 1976, Stella was commissioned by BMW to paint a BMW 3.0 CSL for the second installment in the BMW Art Car Project. He has said of this project, "The starting point for the art cars was racing livery. In the old days there used to be a tradition of identifying a car with its country by color. Now they get a number and they get advertising. It's a paint job, one way or another. The idea for mine was that it's from a drawing on graph paper. The graph paper is what it is, a graph, but when it's morphed over the car's forms it becomes interesting, and adapting the drawing to the racing car's forms is interesting. Theoretically it's like painting on a shaped canvas." The works on exhibit in 2009 are very indicative of this 'theory' as stated by Stella.

About The Artist
Stella was born in 1936 in Malden, MA, and graduated from Princeton University, where he majored in history. After graduation he moved to New York City in the late 1950s, and became well-known as both a painter and printmaker. Greatly influenced by abstract expressionism Stella is considered one of the finest post-war American artists still working today, having 'reinvented' himself with his artwork many times during his career.

Early in his career Stella questioned and departed from the technique of creating a painting by first making a sketch, drawn towards flatter surfaces, 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" according to his biography. Eventually, Stella produced the famous "Black Paintings" and "Protractor Series" - where he used arcs within square borders arranged side-by-side to produce full and half circles painted in rings of concentric color, sometimes overlapping.

In a career spanning five decades, Stella began creating free-standing sculpture for public spaces and developing architectural projects during the 1990s. He also spent many years in the Hamptons, and owned a potato barn in Sagaponack with artist Neil Williams that was used as an artist studio. The barn is presently owned and occupied by artist Steve Miller. Stella continues to live and work in New York.

This is a most interesting exhibition of an artist's work who seems to have never failed to provide the viewer with the opportunity to decipher, discuss and dismantle their own definition of abstract expressionism.

A major five-decade retrospective of his career, organized by Michael Auping, chief curator of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is planned for 2013. Stella's works are included in the collections of many of the world's museums.




Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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