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Frank Stella 1958 at the Wexner Center for the Arts
Frank Stella, Morro Castle, 1958.

COLUMBUS, OH.- The Wexner Center for the Arts will present the exhibit Frank Stella 1958 starting September 16 and running through December 31. Experience a turning point in modern painting and the early career of influential postwar artist Frank Stella. Focusing exclusively on a single year, 1958, this exhibition brings together almost 20 monumental canvases created during a seminal, experimental year for the young artist, then just out of college. With their surprisingly radiant, expressive fields of color and brushstroke stripes, the paintings of 1958 preceded the stark, more rigid black paintings that Stella produced the next year and that won him fame for their radical departure from abstract expressionism. This exhibition brings most of these surprising and historically neglected works together for the first time.

Frank Stella was born in Maiden, Massachusetts in 1936. He studied at Phillips Academy, Andover, and then at Princeton University. One year after his graduation in 1968, he was included in an exhibit, Sixteen Americans, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The following year, his shaped canvases were the basis of his first one-man show at the Leo Castelli Gallery.

Stella's work is concerned with regulation of structure and color. His early works exhibit the precision and rationality that characterized minimalism. In the 1960's, Stella introduced the innovative use of irregularly shaped canvases. In the 1980's Stella abandoned the studied, minimalist aesthetic in favor of a more improvised and dynamic form, incorporating mixed media and three-dimensionality.

Stella also worked extensively in the graphic media. His first prints were often modestly scaled and monochromatic. He followed the compositions of his paintings, but was traditional in his approach to the graphic media. Then, in the early 1970s, he moved away from flat geometric shapes toward illusionism, with liberal uses of color. Later, he experimented with combinations of shapes, colors, and techniques in print series, which are an incredible number of variations on a theme. Today, his prints no longer follow his paintings. They are uniquely inventive and visually exciting in themselves.

Stella is one of the most important contemporary printmakers. Highly acclaimed, both critically and popularly, his work has been exhibited in the most prominent American and British galleries. The Whitney Museum, New York City, has several of his paintings, and his works are included in museum and corporate collections throughout the world.

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