Early Poem Painting like a Frank Stella

Continuing with my remembrance of my years doing a degree in Fine Arts in the 1970s, and finding myself in the middle of a Conceptual Art era in which I did not belong, I suddenly made the connection with an old painting of mine and Frank Stella's famous stripes

Now I like Frank Stella as a person, - what I have heard of him in interviews (a recent Frank Stella interview with Eleanor Wachtel is brilliant), and his views as espoused in articles I've read over the years. His stripes paintings (what I knew as an art student), however, leave me on the cold side. They are certainly outstanding for their time. It's self-confident work, sure of itself. All the stripes are hand-painted (pencil lines but no tape) too. But do these works of Stella's inspire me, inspire the poetry in me? No, rather, these paintings remind me of good geometry, bordering on an Op Art. Fun, a little play with the way the eye reads its optical images.

I understand that for Stella, abstract art is a type of landscape, this is its European roots, and that his aim was to create art that removed realism, all traces of Renaissance perspective, the way art up to the modern era normally represents the world, and so on. He was enormously successful in his endeavours - at 35 he was the youngest man ever to have a solo retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. His current work, which moves into sculptural paintings, is composed of a complexity of constructions, and is bright and busy as it approaches the rhythms of music, still doesn't make me want to rush to the easel.

Yet, yet. By my fourth year with my very avante guarde art teacher (who did huge 'shit-brown canvases' out of house paint, or made rooms of white sheets), I was very clearly doing 'a Frank Stella.' Why it has taken me this long to realize it, I have no idea.

I don't have a photo of my 'art school' painting - and the colour in these old snapshots does not convey the vibrance of the pure acrylic paint. I never personally liked this painting, though I got a top grade for it, and other people seemed to like it - and have no idea what the poem that I wrote for it was. Also, other than finding it mysteriously resting on the back of a couch in a photo with my Dad in his condo years later, I have no idea what happened to it.

I include some Frank Stellas so you can see what I mean. Mine, of course, a poor derivative, though this was never conscious till now (though I had studied Stella in university, of course I had).

The man in the first two photos with the roundish face and black moustache is my first husband, an Irishman from Dublin - a short early marriage that lasted 2 years. I'm in the 2nd photo (with straightened hair, oh the craziness of youth), you'll figure out which one. My Dad in the last. And then some paintings that are part of the masterpieces of Abstract Expressionism by Frank Stella.



Popular posts from this blog

Exercise Set for Lungs and Bloodstream; Yoga set for the Kidneys.

First attempts at digital drawing...

A Dance Videopoem: Shadow Cave