marianne boesky gallery

FRANK STELLA & LARRY BELL

June 13 – July 23, 2017
100 South Spring Street

Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of sculpture and wall works by artists Frank Stella and Larry Bell, made over the last two years. The exhibition, titled Frank Stella & Larry Bell, is the first in the gallery’s new Aspen location—Boesky West at 100 South Spring Street—and marks a rare opportunity to see the work of these two iconic artists, and long-time friends, together. On view from March 8 through April 16, 2017, the show highlights both artists’ ongoing fascinations with abstraction, light, and space, creating a dynamic dialogue between their distinct practices.

Over his many decades-long career Frank Stella has produced an extraordinary body of work, from the paintings that came to define the early 1960s to his more recent assemblage and collage-like constructions. The upcoming exhibition will feature a selection of small-scale wall-mounted sculptures that continue the artist’s Scarlatti K series, which he first began in 2006. Inspired by the Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti, the works are visual responses to the experience of the musician’s sonatas. Comprised of abstracted coils, orbs, and other geometric forms, the colorful works connote a lightweight playfulness. This sensation is carried through to another group of sculptures—many of which include industrial forms used in the making of marshmallows. Stella reshapes, dissects, combines, and, in some instances, paints these forms to create a diversity of spatial relationships that seem to bend and push against gravity. Additionally, the exhibition will include a large-scale, stainless steel star sculpture, installed in the outdoor garden. While distinct in form, scale, and tone, all of the works exhibited at Boesky West are created through a combination of digital modeling, rapid-prototype printing, physical sculpting, and collaging.

Larry Bell first began his illustrious career in 1959, and quickly became a pivotal figure in the California Light and Space movement. Over the last six decades, Bell has made investigations into the properties of light and surface, creating a methodology that is characterized by spontaneity, intuition, and improvisation. For the upcoming exhibition, Bell will show a series of mixed media collages, produced through the vacuum deposition technique. In this process, the artist uses a vacuum chamber to transfer aluminum and silicon monoxide onto the surface of paper. The resultant works appear to trap and emanate light, producing a dazzling array of colors that spring from the surface, much the way that prisms make rainbows in sunlight. The collages, which are mounted on canvas, defy preconceived notions of depth and weight, drawing the viewer in to the swaths and swirls of reflective color. The exhibition will also feature several Light Knots, which are made from polyester film. Following the vacuum deposition process, Bell cuts the two-dimensional sheets, making curves with his scissors that suggest the human figure, and twists the film into abstract forms. In some instances, the iridescent sculptures are hung from the ceiling, while in other cases they are suspended within glass cubes. This alternation in presentation plays with our common understandings of how objects behave in space, an idea that permeates much of Bell’s practice.

The works will be installed across the gallery’s two floors, and showcase the artists’ continued explorations and experimentations with materials, and the parallel themes and questions in their singular practices. This investigation of light and space, through Stella and Bell’s work, feels particularly resonant in the Aspen, where the landscape and climate are vital to the vibrancy of the experience.

“With the Aspen location, I am particularly interested in how the natural environment affects the way we view and engage with art. In this context, it seemed most fitting to launch the program with two artists whose practices are so much about the physicality of the work—the shape, the surface, the relationship to light and space are all essential to understanding and connecting with it,” said Marianne Boesky. “At the same time, the Aspen gallery is about opportunities for collaboration and extending relationships. Frank and Larry have been friends for a long time, and yet have almost never shown together. It seemed like the right moment to present their exceptional work together in this new location and environment.” 

For general information about Boesky West, please contact Gallery Director Kelly Woods at kelly@boeskygallery.com or 212.680.9889. For press inquiries, please contact Alina Sumajin, PAVE Communications and Consulting, at alina@paveconsult.com or 646-369-2050.