Published: October 5, 2010
The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College is presenting a major exhibition of paintings by Frank Stella from October 9 to March 31.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Hood Museum of Art, “Frank Stella: Irregular Polygons” presents one of each of the artist’s 11 monumental compositions for the “Irregular Polygons” (1965‶6) series, along with preparatory drawings, the 1974 print series Eccentric Polygons (based on the Irregular Polygons), and a selection of his latest works, the “Polychrome Reliefs.” Together these objects testify to an outstanding artistic career and provide an exciting opportunity to engage with the “complex simplicity” that is the paradox of Stella’s art. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly catalog written by its curator, Hood director Brian Kennedy.
Stella’s long and prolific career at the forefront of abstract art has revealed him to be a consistent innovator. He produces his works in series as he immerses himself in visual thinking and creating according to the principle of, in his words, “line, plane, volume and point, within space.” Although based on simple geometries, the “Irregular Polygons” comprise one of the most complex artistic statements of Stella’s career.
Each of the 11 compositions combines varying numbers of shapes to create daringly irregular outlines. Stella made four versions of each composition, varying the color combinations, and until now, all 11 formats have never been shown together. The “Irregular Polygons” mark a radical shift from Stella’s earlier striped paintings in their use of large fields of color. These asymmetric canvases play with illusion, confronting Stella’s previous emphasis on flatness while perpetuating his career-long exploration of space and volume in both painting and sculpture.
In 1985, the year the Hood Museum opened to the public, Stella spoke at the annual convocation ceremony and received an honorary degree. In 1963, he had been an artist-in-residence at the college, making works for the series that became known as the “Dartmouth Paintings,” each of which was named after a city in Florida that he had visited while on a road trip there in 1961.
In 1965‶6, two years after he left Dartmouth campus, he named each of the 11 compositions of his “Irregular Polygons” series after small towns in New Hampshire †Chocorua, Conway, Effingham, Moultonboro, Moultonville, Ossipee, Sanbornville, Sunapee, Tuftonboro, Union and Wolfeboro. During his boyhood, his father had brought him to a family camp near Ossipee for fishing trips in New Hampshire’s mountains, lakes and rivers. Stella will return to Dartmouth College as a Montgomery Fellow from October 17 to 24. On Thursday, October 21, at 4:30 pm, he will participate in a question-and-answer session in Dartmouth’s Spaulding Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.
The Hood Museum is on Dartmouth College campus at Wheelock Street. For more information, 603-646-2808 or www.hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu .
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