What happens when you look at a Work of Art? For many viewers, not much.
According to some statistics, most people spend less than 5 seconds looking at a painting or a sculpture then they move on. I admit, occasionally I don’t want to spend more time ether. Then there are the creations that ‘speak to you’. I was looking at some of Frank Stella’s paintings which I have seen many times in the past. I appreciate his works. Then for some unknown reason something he did caught my eye. It was a miniscule ‘miscalculation’? No, I must have been wrong. At 5:00 a.m. the following morning I had my loop out and I was checking the ‘miscalculation’ again and again. Then I worked my way backwards towards the middle of the large-scale, multi-colored squares. I still didn’t understand the ‘miscalculation. Finally the light bulb went on. Stella doesn’t make ‘miscalculations, He wants you to think. His ‘Squares’ series are labyrinths. A Golden Triangle. A mathematical uprising. The spectrum he chooses is intentional. From infra-red to ultra violet, the pattern is omnipresent and possibly connotes what humans can’t see. The very top of the pyramid is a spiral, hence the ‘miscalculation’. I discovered so much more symbolism going on in that one painting. I dusted off my science and mathematics books and started checking. Then I checked on Paradoxe sur le comedienne and thought the two paintings might be a back to back. However it’s also a male and female created by the use of his colors. One fits perfectly into the other.
Stella is right when he states, "What you see is how you comprehend what you see”. I see artistic genius, filled with humor. And then there is of course the obvious. He’s winking at his audience.
Presently Mr. Stella’s 60-year career from the late 1950’s to the present are on view at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale through July 8, 2018. Curated by the amazing Bonnie Clearwater the exhibition composed of approximately 300 paintings, relief sculpture and drawings offer an insight into his trajectory from Minimalism (e.g. the geometry of the black paintings) to Maximalism (e.g. the spatially complex constructionists and large sculptures of the Moby Dick series).
Frank Stella’s Experiment and Change is part of NSU Art Museum’s Regeneration Series, exhibitions designed to explore the wide-ranging impact of World War II on artists in Europe and the United States. It was launched in 2016 with Anselm Kiefer from the Hall Collection. Stella’s work is grounded in the post-war philosophical shift in which the individual was to master his/her own existence as popularized through the zeitgeist of existentialism philosophy, phenomenology, Gestalt psychology and psychology of perception.
Mr. Stella is one of the most important artists working today. The NSU Art Museum is located at One East Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. Details: 954 525.5500. See ya.