Frank Stella

Frank Stella The Fountain 1992

Lately I have been obsessing over Frank Stella. I was a fan of his ‘black’ paintings but never really got into Minimalism and colour field in general. What I did enjoy and remember seeing in the 90s was his works of that period. They were fantastic pieces. He has stayed in the same vein somewhat ever since. I remember seeing a large assemblage piece in a lobby in the CBD of Sydney in the late 90s. I would make sure I went past it and had a good look. When I first saw it I had no idea who it was by. Eventually I walked into the lobby and saw the sign stating the piece and artist. Then I saw some other lithographic assemblages and couldn’t believe how amazing his art was. I would love to reach that level even in graffiti which I think I have in a way. Yet I know after looking at more pieces by Stella that I need to push it a lot further with my own style. The problem with graffiti is it can get caught up in a flat logic. Not flat as in flat but in a sameness. Stella is almost theatrical in that he contrasts elements that are not meant to be together. He simply brings them together regardless. Then they play off each other. This contrasting of elements means the viewer’s eye can not settle anywhere for too long. Graffiti does this to the uninitiated but when you learn how it works it simply becomes another example of similar formulated composition that changes from work to work. Stella is almost changing the composition while it is sitting stationary. Quite amazing that he can pull this off.

In saying that Jeff Koons new work is similar yet more of a pastiche that talks of kitsch and how it can interact with high art images and still be a high art image. So who wears it better? I think Stella is far more straight to the point. These works are pushing boundaries nonetheless.

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