New American Paintings/Blog

Material Crescendo: Frank Stella at The Phillips Collection by openstudiospress
June 23, 2011, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Art World, DC | Tags: , , , ,

Frank Stella, K.43 (lattice variation) protogen RPT (full-size), 2008 | Protogen RPT with stainless steel tubing, 144 x 176 x 116 inches. Courtesy of FreedmanArt. © 2011 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Gregory R. Staley.

Frank Stella doesn’t play second fiddle, but for Wassily Kandinsky he’ll play second harpsichord. Well, sort of. Currently on display at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. is Stella Sounds: The Scarlatti K Series, a subset of the painterly sculptures the artist originally exhibited at Paul Kasmin Gallery in 2009. Inspired by the eighteenth century harpsichord sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, Stella’s work is meant to provide a contemporary context for the Phillips’ concurrent show, Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence, an examination of the creative process that lead to Kadinski’s 1913 pioneering abstract masterpiece “Painting with White Border.

The idea is that contemporary abstraction like Stella’s has its theoretical roots in Kandinski’s trailblazing work, and despite the artists’ differences — just about 100 years worth of differences — there’s a visual dialogue that results from the pairing. Also evident is the merging of painterly and sculptural space, as Stella’s objects, mostly hanging on the walls like paintings, offer steel armatures that appear to function like the gestural brush strokes in Kandinski’s work.

More pics after the jump!   —Matthew Smith, D.C. Contributor

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