Frank Stella | Going Aboard (from the Wave Series) | screenprint with lithograph and linocut in colors with hand-coloring, marbling and collage | 73.37 x 54.37 in
Frank Stella | The Counterpane (P.P.1) | Silkscreen, lithography, linoleoum block, marbling, collage, with hand-coloring | 71 x 51 in
Frank Stella | The Quarter-Deck (P.P.1) | silkscreen, lithography, linoleoum block, with hand-coloring, marbling, collage, with hand-coloring | 75 x 55.75 in
"It's a way of opening things up for abstraction," Frank Stella (b. 1936) told The Guardian in an interview about his Moby Dick series. He spent 15 years exploring Herman Melville's novel through abstract lithographs, sculptures and installations. Each piece in the series, which hails from the 80's and 90's, takes its title from a chapter of the book.
Stella's aim was to subvert Cubism—and the movements that descended from it—by adding liquidity to its vocabulary of rigid planes. "Once the planes begin to bend and curve and deform then you get into what happens in Moby Dick," Stella said. What better place to break the grid than the topsy-turvy world of the high seas?
There are three works on paper from Stella's Moby Dick series in the Zane Bennett collection. The exuberantly colorful prints capture a spirit of frenetic spontaneity, but the tale of their creation is strikingly deliberate. Each work is a master class in various printmaking techniques; silkscreen, lithography and linocut are employed to produce densely layered imagery. Stella worked with a number of New York printmaking studios to create the works, and added unique flourishes to each piece with hand-coloring and collage elements.
Known collectively as The Waves, these prints are aesthetically remote from Stella's iconic Black Paintings, but both series aim to disrupt and revolutionize abstract image making.