Frank Stella’s exhibition of eleven recent sculptures, free-standing and wall mounted, some on a monumental scale, combine unpainted stainless steel tubing and carbon fibre. The looping, interwoven tubing creates three dimensional sculptures which suggest movement and volume, as well as lightness and delicacy. They have the quality of spontaneous, linear drawings or sketches, suspended in space. Stella states, after all, the aim of art is to create space – space that is not compromised by decoration or illustration, space within which the subjects of painting can live.
‘Penasar’ (2005), made from wide, circular loops around a steel cone, appears to spring upwards from the textural ‘wings’ which make up its base. Recalling the flight associated contraptions of da Vinci and Tatlin, ‘Penasar’ creates a vortex spiralling to a point beyond the sculpture. The wall sculptures, such as ‘Mgarap Bangke’ (2004), incorporate moulded sections of dark carbon fibre, with metal tubing and geometric support structures, which twist and turn like the movement of a rollercoaster or slide.
Stella’s titles are Balinese words and phrases taken from a photographic essay written in 1942 by Margaret Meade and Gregory Bateson entitled Balinese Character. These titles are chosen not to allude to Balinese culture but to increase the enigma of the art works.