“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen,” said Helen Frankenthaler (b. 1928) “Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.”
For over six decades, Frankenthaler went against the rules, pioneering new techniques which launched the second generation of Color Field painting.
Her poured works were created by diluting paints to the delicate consistency of watercolors. The opaque stains spread into the fibers of the canvas, creating vivid veils of color—simultaneously bright yet soft abstract representations of real or imaginary landscapes.
“What concerns me when I work, is not whether the picture is a landscape, or whether it’s pastoral, or whether somebody will see a sunset in it,” Frankenthaler explains. “What concerns me is – did I make a beautiful picture?”
Curator Kylee Aragon, who served as the interim gallery director of Albuquerque’s nonprofit lithography center Tamarind Institute before joining Zane Bennett’s staff, selected work from Zane Bennett’s formidable collection of masterworks on paper, highlighting iconic artists who have used highly tactile printmaking techniques to reflect the textures, patterns, and colors of textiles.
To preview works in the exhibition, click here. Scroll below for more information.
Zane Bennett moved to a fully online model in 2016, after more than a decade as a brick-and-mortar gallery. In its stead came a new gallery, form & concept, but they’ll officially split exhibition space for the first time this evening.
Stitched Ink coincides with the reception for form & concept’s fiber art show Nika Feldman: Spirits in the Material World. The exhibition is Zane Bennett’s first formal, in-gallery display since 2015, and launches a curatorial program of seasonal exhibitions.
“We all know what paper feels like, but to make paper look like something else is a hard thing to do,” Aragon says. “When you’re making a print inspired by a textile, how do you create that sense of dimensionality and flowing movement on a two-dimensional surface?”
To answer these questions, Aragon selected works on paper that alchemically reflect the dynamism of textiles. Stitched Ink features thirteen pieces by six premier artists in our collection and is on view through March 23.
Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh met at the Villa Arson in France while earning their MFAs in painting and film. After a period of crippling depression, Farkhondeh moved into Amer’s studio in 2000 for emotional support. While alone in the studio, Farkhondeh began to “improve” Amer’s works in progress. She was surprised by Farkhondeh’s contributions, and invited him to continue to participate in her work. They chose RFGA—their initials combined—as an artistic moniker, and embarked on an eighteen year collaboration.
The artists maintain their practice in separate locations, passing works back and forth. Farkhondeh adds forms atop Amer’s sensual portraits of women, creating bold collisions of imagery that the artists describe as “a mutant riddle…a type of creation that resists control.” For Wonder Women and Kiss Cross are two of those riddles. Both are lithographs with hand-sewn elements, created by the artists in 2006.
Above: Reza Farkhondeh and Ghada Amer in their studio. Photo by Barbara Fässler.
Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh Kiss Cross
lithograph with hand-sewn elements
24 x 30 in
Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh For Wonder Woman
lithograph with hand-sewn elements
20 x 30 in
Click here to browse the complete Zane Bennett Contemporary Art collection.
In 1986, Frank Stella embarked on an epic endeavor: adapting Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby-Dick into a body of work. He spent twelve years capturing the essence of the novel, resulting in four series with over 200 artworks that correspond with every twist and turn of the plot. The first series, The Waves, comprises thirteen vibrant, mixed-media prints that detail Captain Ahab’s obsessive quest. Behold four vibrant prints from the series, available individually or as a set. Each print is named for a chapter from the book, so we’ve provided chapter synopses below.
In Ahab, abstracted whale tails and a blood-red background
mark Ishmael’s first sighting of the doomed captain.
Frank Stella Ahab
serigraph, lithograph, linocut, hand coloring, and collage
Hark! captures the quiet reverence the seamen have for
their captain—and the sounds of a calm ocean.
Frank Stella Hark!
serigraph, lithograph, linocut, hand coloring, and collage
A Squeeze of the Hand offers a tour through the Pequod’s
“blubber-room,” hence the exuberant mish-mash of colors and forms.
“Meaning is in us already, waiting to wake up,” said Lesley Dill (b. 1950). “I feel grateful for waking up through words.” The New York artist works in a wide variety of media—sculpture, performance, printmaking, drawing, and photography—but each work explores the power of language. In Dill’s 2005 lithograph collage, Woman With Hindi Healing Dress, a figure wears a swirling skirt covered in cascading Hindi text. Even if you can’t read the language, the threaded compositional elements and serene palette communicate everything you need to know. This is an artwork imbued with the spirit of a healer.
“Shape and color are my two strong things,” said Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015). The New York artist’s position on his own work was as simple as that, but his influence on 20th century art was considerably more complex. Kelly was a key player in the evolution of hard-edge painting, Color Field painting, minimalism, and Pop Art, though he never willingly assumed the mantle of a particular movement. Quietly and diligently, he observed the built environment around him and captured his shifting perceptions on canvas and paper.
Kelly’s lithograph Blue and Orange and Green is poetic in its simplicity, a visual haiku consisting of three echoed forms in bright hues. “I wanted to give people joy,” Kelly said. His print, which is new to the Zane Bennett Contemporary Art Collection, is sure to brighten your day—and perhaps your living room.
“Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment,” said Sam Francis (1923-1994). The abstract expressionist master is best known for paintings that show multicolored abstract splatters between luminous fields of white. “Containment” isn’t the first word you might use to describe these exuberant artworks that are devoid of hard edges. However, much like Jackson Pollock, Francis was actually exercising precise control in the creation of his work. Though Francis’s bright pigments are focal points, he knew that negative space was his most important compositional tool. These new prints in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection are dazzling examples of his signature aesthetic.
Guy Dill (b. 1946) doesn’t make preparatory sketches for his sculptures. He paints or prints abstract imagery, and then captures the flowing motion of the pigment in three dimensions. “I knew I had to discuss painting in a sculptural way,” the California artist explains. He started his art career in New York City—Donald Judd was an early benefactor—but settled in Los Angeles in the 1970’s. “New York is about New York, and LA is about the world,” he quips.
From his West Coast home, Dill has indeed conquered the globe with his monumental sculptures in bronze, aluminum and marble. He’s mounted over 50 one-man exhibitions, and appears in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Stedelijk Museum. Dill’s artworks in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection exemplify the complete span of his process, from his initial explorations in two dimensions to a sculptural expression that towers above the viewer.
Click here to browse the complete Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.
The first thing you need to know about Frank Stella‘s (b.1936) Waves series is that the vibrant, mixed-media prints are monumental. Each of them measures at least 6 feet high and over 4 feet wide. The American artist employed a trifecta of printmaking techniques to create them: serigraphy, lithography and linocut. The prints are hand-colored and collaged, ensuring that each one is unique.
Stella created these marvels of post-painterly abstraction over a 12-year period, between 1985 and 1997. His epic endeavor seems quite fitting if you consider his source of inspiration. The Waves series is a tribute to Herman Melville’s seminal Great American Novel Moby-Dick. Stella imagines himself as a stowaway on the whaler ship Pequod, joining the narrator Ishmael to chronicle Captain Ahab’s tumultuous quest for revenge against the elusive white whale Moby Dick. Each print is an abstract summary for one of the book’s 135 chapters—an elemental, topsy turvy impression of life at sea. To hear Stella speak about the series, check out this excerpt from Studio 360’s Modern Icons podcast about Moby-Dick.
Stella was also influenced by abstract expressionism for this series. “This is paying my debt, or not so much paying my debt as expressing my admiration for the abstract generation I grew up with and that I admired the most,” he said of Waves.
Works from the Waves series have passed through the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection before, but this release is truly remarkable. We acquired the mint condition prints from a private collection—including several images that we’ve never had before. They all hail from the same pull, and are a low edition number. We’re offering special pricing and right of first refusal to collectors who are interested in purchasing all six as a set, so make sure to contact us quickly if you’d like to own a piece of artistic—and literary—history.
Add a piece of art history to your walls this winter! There’s a new Special Offerssection on the Zane Bennett Contemporary Art website, featuring exceptional pricing on works by legendary artists. Scroll down to view prints by Pop Art icons and Pop-inspired artists from the new collection, and make sure to bookmark the Special Offers page for future additions.
“I thinkthat if you can turn off the mind and look only with the eyes, ultimately everything becomes abstract,” said Ellsworth Kelly (1923 – 2015).Kelly’s abstraction is rooted in the real world.His strong sense of form and color has often been tied to his time in the military, affinity for bird watching, and observations of nature. Although simplistic in imagery, Kelly’s work holds a certain tension.“I think what we all want from art is a sense of fixity, a sense of opposing the chaos of daily living,” said Kelly. “This an illusion, of course. Canvas rots. Paint changes color. In a sense, what I’ve tried to capture is the reality of flux, to keep art an open, incomplete situation, to get at the rapture ofseeing.”
Kelly was a pioneer of Color Field painting and minimalism whose influence extends across the second half the 20th century to the present.This is exemplified by the story behind Kelly’s Untitled (1983), a hand-signed lithograph that was included in the Eight by Eight to Celebrate the Temporary Contemporary suite. The portfolio features artwork by eight prominent artists, and was used as a fundraising vehicle for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. The artists who participated were Kelly, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, and Andy Warhol. This iconic collection is a testament to the cultural milieu of the United States in the 1980’s. This is a rare opportunity to own a piece of this illustrious history.
“All our projects are like fabulous expeditions,” said Christo (b.1935). “The story of each project is unique. Our projects have no precedent.” It’s a bold statement to make, but hard to deny when you look at the staggering output of Christo and his late, great partner Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009). Starting in the early 1960’s, they set out to wrap the world in flowing cloth. They’ve managed to cover quite a lot of ground since then, from Central Park to the Reichstag. Three new prints in our collection depict wrapped objects that are not monumental in size—but just as culturally significant. Wrapped Telephone shows an L.M. Ericsson design that’s iconic of early 20th century communication. Wrapped Motorcycle/Sidecar and Wrapped Automobile capture two symbols of freewheeling American innnovation. Both of the new prints come with complimentary gifts, pictured below. It’s a unique opportunity to “unwrap” a Christo this holiday season.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) is having a moment—though you could argue that the postmodern provocateur has been en mode since the midcentury. In any case, the Museum of Modern Art’s blockbuster survey show Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends recently closed in New York, and SFMOMA’s manifestation of the exhibition opens in late November. The new show is titled Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, a reference to the artist’s legendary erasure of a Willem De Kooning drawing in the name of art. It was a seminal moment in his early career, but hardly characteristic of the work he would produce in the following decades.
Rauschenberg was a master of addition rather than subtraction, fearlessly layering a vast arsenal of bizarre materials to create sculptural paintings, painted sculptures and three-dimensional drawings that he referred to as “Combines.” Cock Sure, a mixed-media print that he produced with Pace in the 1990’s, represents a late chapter of his persistent experimentation. “Cock Sure is an extension of his curiosity, applying paint directly onto the glass surface, increasing the depth of the work so that it became three-dimensional,” wrote Art Daily. “The work is characteristically by Rauschenberg as seen through the inclusion of everyday images: an open sign, chickens, a windmill, and a dog resting by a brick wall.” Scroll down to view more works by Rauschenberg in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.
Robert Rauschenberg Arcanum VIII
22.5 x 15.5 in
Robert Rauschenberg Arcanum V
color silkscreen with hand-coloring and collage on paper
22.5 x 15.5 in