The Toledo Museum of Art has expanded its holdings of post-World War II American abstract art by acquiring two works by Frank Stella (born 1936), Conway I and La penna di hu.
Director Brian Kennedy said these works not only enlarge the Museum’s abstract art collection but also enhance its initiatives in teaching visual literacy. “Stella’s clear emphasis on certain visual elements and principles—in his own words, ‘line, plane, volume and point, within space’ supports our efforts to give visitors a more enriching visual experience.”
La penna di hu is a keynote work for Stella, the culmination of his more than two decades spent exploring formal combinations of various shapes. It is a sculpture uniquely suited to the most fundamental terms of visual analysis because of its varying degrees of translucency and transparency and its variety of intersecting or otherwise interacting shapes.
Not unlike an unfurled peacock tail, the work is brightly colored, dazzling, active and aptly named. Translated into English, the title means “The Peacock Feather” and is named for an Italian folktale that reminds us of the artist’s ancestry in Sicily.
After looking at Stella’s minimalism work and his black paintings, I also looked at his abstraction work to see the contrast between two different styles. Even though his abstract pieces contain vivid colours and a lot more shape than the linework of his black paintings, I do think that to a certain extent they can still link in with minimalism, as the shapes and colours are still relatively basic. I really like how similar to Mondrian, Stella’s work tells a story in a minimalistic form, which appeals more to me than a detailed paintings as I prefer art that is open for interpretation, which Stella’s work is.