Shaped Canvas Artists. Abstract Expressionists Frank Stella Elizabeth Murray Charley Hyman Armstrong. Frank Stella. Reading Material. Frank Stella.
Charley Hyman Armstrong
Stella began studying art at the tender age of fourteen . His much-proclaimed works – “Transitional Paintings” and “Black Paintings,” were produced in Stella’s New York art studio. An exhibition of Stella’s work was held at the Museum of Modern Art, beginning in 1959.
During this creative period, the influence of the abstract Expressionists is unmistakable. For the next two decades, Stella exhibited throughout the world, while continuing to work as a teacher.
“The Pequod meets the Bachelor”, 1988, Mixed media on etched magnesium and aluminum ,
The large-scale pop art paintings he produced in the 1960's became a seminal part of American art history. Between 1960 and 1980, Stella exhibited throughout the world, while continuing to work as a teacher.
FRANK STELLA "Il Drago e la cavallinafatata", 1986
oil, urethane enamel, fluorescent alkyd, acrylic and printing ink on canvas, etched magnesium, aluminum and fiberglass
“Enter Ahab; to him, Stubb”, Mixed media on etched magnesium and aluminum SIZE: h: 179.5 x w: 160.5 x d: 57.5 in / h: 455.9 x w: 407.7 x d: 146 cm
From 1978 to 1980, a traveling exhibition in the U.S. showed a retrospective of his work. Stella’s “post abstractionist,” large-scale pop art paintings are now imbedded in art history.
Shape Canvas Painter
Featured in Art21
1.) Describe – State the facts.
2.) Analyze – Discuss this art using the expressive properties of the elements and the principles of design.
3.) Interpretation – What do you think this means?
"Terrifying Terrain" was inspired by a rock-climbing trip in Montana. Murray translates the strong visual, tactile, and psychological moments of this experience into paint by creating a shaped canvas that embodies the rugged terrain she encountered. The surface of the work is highly irregular and uneven, with overlapping planes, conveying the mountainous Montana landscape. While climbing over
multiple layers of rock, the artist recalls that small pieces of rock were continually breaking off and falling down around her. This precarious situation was translated into the addition of small raised pieces to the surface of the canvas to resemble the falling rock. The opening in the middle of the canvas is meant to simulate the experience a climber would have looking down into a ravine.
As is a common strategy in many of her works, Murray also fuses elements of the real world with abstraction. Here, a bright red dress floats incongruously over the center of the dark green landscape, adding a surreal note and suggesting a hidden layer of meaning. Such speculation is encouraged by the artist, who, characteristically, incorporates several themes into a single work. The long, skinny sleeves of the dress wrap their
way around the periphery of the irregular canvas, holding together the fragmented pieces of the landscape, both literally and figuratively. Like her contemporaries Jennifer Bartlett and Susan Rothenberg, Murray reasserts the importance of narrative content within the abstract idiom. This painting is a major work by an artist who received critical acclaim in the 1980s and gained popular appeal in the 1990s.
"Terrifying Terrain," Murray effectively mates deliberate design with happenstance and disjointed forms with an underlying structure, merging the artistic freedom of the action painters with the clean essentials of the Minimalists. The result is an exhilarating jigsaw of overlapping layers and shifting planes that coalesce into a shallow, three-dimensional wall relief.
A pioneer in painting, Elizabeth Murray’s distinctively shaped canvases break with the art-historical tradition of illusionistic space in two-dimensional picture-plane.
Jutting out from the wall and sculptural in form, Murray’s oil paintings and watercolors playfully blur the line between the painting as an object and the painting as a space for depicting objects.
Her still lifes are reminiscent of paintings by masters such as Cézanne, Picasso, and Matisse; however, like her entire body of work, Murray’s paintings rejuvenate old art forms. Breathing life into domestic subject matter, Murray’s paintings often include images of cups, drawers, utensils, chairs, and tables.
These familiar objects are matched with cartoonish fingers and floating eyeballs. Abstraction is a key component. Murray’s paintings are abstract compositions rendered in bold colors and multiple layers of paint.
But the details of the paintings reveal a fascination with dream states and the psychological underbelly of domestic life.
Elizabeth Murray was born in Chicago in 1940. From an early age, she showed an interest in art that her parents encouraged. In elementary school she sold drawings of elephants, cowboys, and stagecoaches to her classmates for 25 cents apiece. This early success kept her interest in art alive.
A high school teacher recognized her talent and created a scholarship for her at the Art Institute of Chicago. Murray took classes in figure drawing, landscape painting, and traditional techniques. She walked through the exhibit halls of the Art Institute museum. Surrounded by masterpieces, she was inspired to become a painter.
In the 1960s, she was told that painting was dead. Everything that could be done had been done. Murray refused to listen and kept painting. Through her perseverance, she developed a style that combines painting with sculpture. Murray is now considered a master of the shaped canvas.
“For a couple of years I’ve been Everything that could be done had been done. Murray refused to listen and kept painting. Through her perseverance, she developed a style that combines painting with sculpture. Murray is now considered a master of the shaped canvas.
working with cutting out shapes and
kind of glomming them together and
letting it go where it may, like basically making a zigzag shape and making a rectangular shape and a circular, bloopy, fat, cloudy shape and just putting them all together and letting the cards fall where they may. I don’t know why I’m doing it this way
because what I want more than
anything else in my life and in my
painting is for things to unify, to come
together.” — Elizabeth Murray
“Bop”, 2002-2003. Oil on canvas, 9”10” x 10” 10 ½”Photo by Ellen Page Wilson Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York
“Painting is a whole other deal. It’s so physical. You’re squeezing the paint out of the tube, which is fun. You’re mixing up the paint. There’s a whole other kind of process, physical process, to get over to the space, to the canvas, to the actual painting, and then start putting the paint on.” — Elizabeth Murray
“Bowtie” 2000, Oil on canvas, 85 x 77 ½”, Photo by Kerry Ryan McFate Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York
“For me, and I think this is different You’re squeezing the paint out of the tube, which is fun. You’re mixing up the paint. There’s a whole other kind of process, physical process, to get over to the space, to the canvas, to the actual painting, and then start putting the paint on.”
for all artists, I can have as much
control as I want to have. But the
minute I start controlling it too much,
it stops making sense. I don’t want
that mark-by-mark control. I want a
certain amount…and then I want to
let go of it. And I’m not talking about
happy accidents. That’s not like what
really happens in the work. If I let
something just slide off, it’s not
something that I’m not seeing. I see
every little inch of it. It’s all about
getting what I intend and what my
head and my emotions want and
what my arm does. And letting my
arm do things that I think I don’t know
about.” — Elizabeth Murray
“Worm's Eye”, 2002. Oil on canvas, 97 x 92” Photo by Ellen Page Wilson Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York