Castelli Gallery is pleased to present Frank Stella Drawings, 1960–1975, an exhibition that traces the development of the artist’s works on paper over the course of fifteen years. Within the arc of these drawings one can follow the progression of Stella’s work from its inception in Minimalist abstraction to its increasingly complex investigations of line, color, and composition. Beginning with his early compositions, the drawings reveal Stella’s increasing interest in asymmetrical pattern, irregular shape, and varied color—tendencies that paralleled his canvases’ shift from flat to high-relief constructions.
Stella’s early work The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, 1961, features thick black bands separated by unmarked lines that expose the natural paper. In contrast to the tradition of creating an illusion that represents three-dimensional space, Stella was creating an illusion of space based in visual tension. Sharpeville, 1962, is an example of the development of Stella’s iconic, monochromatic imagery of concentric squares. Stella’s Polish Village series of the early 1970s was an experiment in bringing a literal third dimension to his artworks by incorporating low-relief constructions inspired by architectural design.
From the simplest early drawings to the most complex later compositions, Stella’s works express the artist’s central ideas with clarity, maintaining his dictum that “what you see is what you see.”