Feb 9, 2004

Gray Scramble (Single), VIII

Gray Scramble (Single), VIII


Frank Stella

(American, b. 1936)

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Framed: 175.2 x 175.2 x 7.5 cm (69 x 69 x 2 15/16 in.); Unframed: 175.2 x 175.2 cm (69 x 69 in.)

Gift of David and Helen Kangesser 2003.355

Did you know?

"Scramble" refers to the alternating, sometimes disorienting organization of the colored squares that darken in hue toward the center.


Stella’s early paintings represent his reaction against the seemingly loose, gestural brushstroke associated with Abstract Expressionism. In Gray Scramble (Single), VIII, Stella combines bands of sequential values and of differing colors. In contrast to the depth created by the alternating light and dark bands of color, the uniformity of the paint surface emphasizes the two-dimensionality of the canvas. Using commercial paint and a house-painter’s brush, Stella carefully crafted his works to create an immediate visual impression of simplicity and monumentality. The strict geometry and crisp edges of the painted bands illustrate Stella’s desire for precision, whereas the resulting symmetry contributes to an “all-over” quality reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings.

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