"Working Space" affords an opportunity to view painting through the eyes of one of the world's foremost abstract painters. Frank Stella uses the crisis of representational art in 16th-century Italy to illuminate the crisis of abstraction in the late 20th century. Professionals, students, collectors and art lovers should find Stella's non-traditional evaluations of the masters' work controversial and his fresh concepts provocative.
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(280mm x 229mm x 18mm)
Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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US Kirkus Review »
In a search for pictorial energy, abstractionist Stella applies his eye to works by Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, Michelangelo, Picasso, Pollock, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Annabale Carracci, Paulus Potter, and Morris Louis, studying how they handle "working space" - the space or depth of field in a canvas. The history of painting is seen clearly in how painters have handled space. Caravaggio was the first great rebel, not only seemingly abandoning ideal beauty for the imitation of nature with partly lighted figures in highly charged chiaroscuro, but also in severely limiting the depth of his backgrounds and keeping the picture's plane of focus almost smack into the viewer's face. The effect is as if some great event is taking place about six feet in front of you and nothing beyond this immediate area is important or included. Stella finds "working space" the place of energy and renewal, the area in which illusionism and representation can be ignored. His own art of abstractionism, coming on the giant heels of the abstract expressionists, avoided this struggle with European modernism and completely severed its roots from any kind of representation. Even Cubism had pretended to some kind of physicality and depth. ". . .I made paintings that successfully canceled out their origins. . . I saw a system in front of me that would guarantee the exclusion of painterly gestures which in seemingly abstract paintings always brought the ghost of figuration with them. . ." Prolix here and there, but enlightening even for the non-presold. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Frank Stella
Frank Stella was born in 1936 in Malden, Massachusetts, and was educated at Andover and Princeton. An amazingly productive and energetic artist, he has created a large and varied body of work.