FRANK STELLA "NOGUCHI'S OKINAWA WOODPECKER" LITHOGRAPH, 1977
Frank Stella (b. 1936) is one of our favorite 20th-century artists, he helped topple Abstract Expressionism and ushered in a new style and approach to art-making. His aesthetic encouraged Minimalism, Hard-edge abstraction, Op Art, and even Conceptual art.
Stella began printmaking in 1967 - and it immediately became an essential part of his practice. This work is from the "Exotic Birds", six print series from 1977. The series was expanded across multiple mediums with the prints serving as references for maquettes which were eventually realized as large-scale aluminum reliefs.
This important series marks a significant transition period for Stella. He introduces a degree of improvisation while layering elaborate patterns and texture that is absent in his signature geometric compositions that established his reputation. Here Stella rejects, and unequivocally distances himself, from the Minimalists.
While the "Exotic Birds" series is defined by blooming curves that resemble voluminous plumage of extinct or endangered species, it is still connected to the rest of Stella's oeuvre for its technical similarities. The elegant French curves in the series were created with stencils, a process that recalls Stella's use of protractors and mathematical tools throughout his seminal years. One could say that these prints are the bridge between Stella's minimalist/geometric phase of his career and the hyper-colorful baroque "later work" that defined the 1980s until today.
"Noguchi's Okinawa Woodpecker" is an exemplary output from this series. As the title suggests, this piece honors the Okinawa Woodpecker (aka "Noguchi's Woodpecker), a critically endangered species affected by habitat loss due to industrial disruption in Japan.
The work features a pair of French curves, which flourish in the center of the page atop a delicate sage green border. A vibrant orange grid sits on the perimeter of the image, a recurring motif that is synonymous with Stella's mechanical aesthetic.
"Noguchi's Okinawa Woodpecker"
Lithograph and screenprint in colors on Arches paper
Signed, dated, and numbered by the artist
With the blind stamp of the publisher/printer Tyler Graphics Ltd.
From an edition of 50
33"H 45"W (work)
42.75"H 54.75"W (framed)
Published by Tyler Graphics Ltd., New York
Overall very good condition, slightly attenuated color.
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