Infinity Field Torino IV # 6, 1986-87 inscribed with title (on the overlap) acrylic on canvas 168 x 127 cm.
Provenance: ACA Galleries, New York; Kouros Gallery, New York; Private collection, New York.
A breathlessly beautiful painting, which invites the viewer to contemplate a mystic's vision of wholeness and rapture, of silence and event,1 this bold Infinity field landscape is charged with a sustaining energy and tangible presence, its underlying rhythms and currents surging back and forth like ocean tides. Composed of a dark, jagged foreground and a luminous, pulsating backdrop broken into two uneven segments by a wavering horizontal line of light, it is built layer upon layer from within, revealing a shimmering sky of brilliant colour and rich form, swirling calligraphic gesture and intense emotion that echo van Gogh's magnificent star-studded nightscapes.
The Infinity Field Torino series obliquely refers to the shroud of Turin, a piece of linen believed to bear the image of Christ's face. Fascinated by this idea of inexplicable spirit, this blurring between the human and the divine, which lies at the core of his Torino paintings, Stamos returns full circle (compare Corinth, lot 71), realising his quest for a spiritual experience and universal imagery that would speak to age-old human emotions.2 "These are not easy paintings; through their combined use of muscular gesture and painterly virtuosity, they simultaneously trouble and lure the viewer as they emit an animism that is quite real."3
One of the founders of Abstract Expressionism along with such great modern masters as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, Theodoros Stamos is considered a modern postwar master whose sensitive and luminous work is related to both Pollock's gestural action paintings and Rothko's colour-field abstractions. Especially, "Stamos' infinity fields encapsulate the artist's unique contribution to American art."4
1. See D. Ashton, 'Stamos', exhibition catalogue., Kouros Gallery, New York 1985. 2. See K. Olds, 'Theodoros Stamos: Odysseys in Time and Space' in Theodoros Stamos Infinity and Beyond, exhibition catalogue., Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York, 2008, p. 10. 3. B. Cavaliere, 'Theodoros Stamos, an Overview', exhibition catalogue., ACA Gallery, New York 1992, p. 12. 4. Olds, p. 5.
Art1, 'Art today', January February 1993, volume 13 (illustrated).