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Sky Farm

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Sky Farm

Artist: Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928 - 2011)
Date: 1972
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions:
Overall: 90 x 60 1/2 in. (228.6 x 153.7 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of Helen Urban, 1992.32
Accession number: 1992.32
Classification: painting
Copyright:ARS
In Collection(s)
Label TextHelen Frankenthaler is one of the strongest proponents of Color Field Painting, the style that came into prominence following Abstract Expressionism. Along with the artist Morris Louis, Frankenthaler is credited with the use of staining the canvas. In the mid to late 1950s, these artists sought to eliminate the figure/ground relationship of paint on canvas, and therefore, stopped preparing the canvas with a layer of gesso prior to applying paint. By using the raw canvas, the paint stained directly into the canvas fibers so that the two elements became a unified whole. Often the staining added an unexpected effect to the image, beyond the artist's control. Source: News, January February 1993.
Sky Farm emphasizes color relationships and the edges created where shapes meet. The forms and subtle color graduations of the work seem immense, as if the frame is allowing the viewer to see just a small section of these wave and cloud-like forms coming together. While this work is similar to the earlier Frankenthaler that hangs next to it, its colors are brighter and the paint thicker, due to the artist’s switch from staining canvas to a more traditional painting technique. This leads to a more substantial, earthy feeling in contrast to Chalk Zone’s airiness. The title suggests that the painting is a kind of landscape, possibly seen from above, but is non-specific enough to allow for the viewer’s interpretation. July 22, 2020
SignedFrankenthaler (l,r acrylic paint)
Exhibition History"The Abstract Tradition in American Art," Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
entirely unexpected