Gallery Hopping: Frank Stella Transcends 2-D Painting at Sprüth Magers

Frank Stella dances on the line between painting and sculpture.

Frank Stella, in front of his work Bogoria IV, (1971). Photo: Kristine Larsen, © 2016 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Frank Stella Bogoria IV, 1971 Mixed media on board 228.6 x 279.4 x 12.7 cm 90 x 110 x 5 inches © 2016 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Frank Stella, in front of his work Bogoria IV, (1971). Photo: Kristine Larsen, © 2016 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Frank Stella Bogoria IV, 1971 Mixed media on board 228.6 x 279.4 x 12.7 cm 90 x 110 x 5 inches © 2016 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Sprüth Magers, Berlin presents Frank Stella’s first solo show with the gallery, offering pieces both from the artist”s Polish Village Series from the early 1970s and his Bali Series from the mid-late 2000s. The Polish Village Series is inspired by Stella’s exploration of Jewish sacral architecture, especially Poland’s wooden synagogues, destroyed by the Nazis. The pieces in this series stand as vibrant wall reliefs in Stella’s signature block colors, and each piece is named after a Polish town in which a wooden synagogue had once existed. The Bali Series is also an exploration of culture—though a very different one—based on studies of anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson on the Indonesian island of Bali and its people.

The renowned American painter is known for his use of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction. During and prior to the 1960s, Stella’s work rejected expressive style popular among abstract expressionists and grounded itself on the flatness of painting instead. However, after the 1970’s his work took a major turn as Stella introduced depth and relief to his paintings, entirely undermining the flatness he had previously preached.

Stella’s pieces on view at Sprüth Magers show the development of the artist’s use of three-dimensionality. His Polish Village Series actually marks one of the first instances of Stella’s artistic shift and experimentation with relief, while his Bali Series is an example of his continued affinity with this practice.

Frank Stella, Pepatih, 2008 courtesy of Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

Frank Stella, Pepatih, 2008 courtesy of Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

Frank Stella, Odelsk I, 1971 courtesy of Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

Frank Stella, Odelsk I, 1971 courtesy of Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

Frank Stella, Gisiang, 2007 courtesy of Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

Frank Stella, Gisiang, 2007 courtesy of Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

Frank Stella, Olkienniki III, 1972 courtesy of Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

Frank Stella, Olkienniki III, 1972 courtesy of Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

“Frank Stella” is on view at Sprüth Magers, Berlin from July 8 – September 3, 2016.

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