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Archive for June 28th, 2009

Joseph Stella Flowers, ItalyWhen I see the paintings of Joseph Stella, particularly his modernist work, I am immediately engaged.  They seem dense and complex, almost manic in their compositional content, yet the color and symmetry have an effect that I find calming.  I often wonder how Stella viewed this work, what he felt from it.  Not in an artspeak sense.  Not academic jargon.  Just how it made him feel.

Stella (1877-1946) was an Italian immigrant to this country who has often been linked with several movements- modenism, futurism, and the precisionism among them.  There is a contradiction in this in that everything I find about him points to someone with an outsider’s mentality, someone who never felt himself a part of any group  and with an “antipathy for authority” with which I identify.  Joseph Stella Brooklyn Bridge

Maybe that’s what I see in the work.  I don’t know.  I do know that I am drawn to the boldness and beauty of it.  The strength of the lines.  The depth of the colors.  The sheer visceral bite of the  image that when taken in as a whole seems to engulf you.  Gorgeous stuff.  Work that makes me feel smaller, even tiny,  for a moment yet inspires me to want to move my own work further ahead.  To grow and expand.

Maybe that’s how I classify other’s work in my head- by how much they make me want to do better, by the way their work’s impact becomes an endpoint for me, a goal that I hope to achieve.

The work of Joseph Stella is definitely such an endpoint.  Now I must work…

joseph stella fountainjoseph stella old brooklyn bridgejoseoh stella

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