The Honor and Glory of Whaling (Maquette)
Mixed media on aluminium and magnesium
98 x 101 x 40 inches
Meredith Long , Houston Texas
Private collection 2005 until 2015
This work is from the series inspired by Melville’s Moby Dick. The severity of his earlier works gives way here to an interest in collage inspired by Pop-Art which recalls the compositions of synthetic Cubism. A delight in the decorative is noticeable here without any loss of the central theme of his art – the relation of image, object and space.
The detailed narrative delight of the piece bundles fish-like forms, including tails, heads and teeth. Stella does without the illusion of depth. He uses flat forms, separate from one another, whose strong colors and sometimes conical contours create an optically charged confusion. The numerous overlapping forms awaken associations with the powerful movements of the animal and the water around it.
The front edge forms a frame which seems to inflate like a sail from the force of the thrusting forms. This depiction is far from the drama of its literary model. The colors counteract the irony hinted at in the title: The whale hunt threatens above all to end in heroic failure.