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STANLEY BOXER

1926 - 2000

Endlessly innovative and with a profound sensitivity to texture, Stanley Boxer was born in 1926 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Boxer was a prolific artist—more a “practitioner” of art by his own admission—across a number of different media, including painting, printmaking, drawing, and sculpture. Having returned to New York after his service in the United States Navy during World War II, Boxer enrolled at the Art Students League with funds he received from the G.I. Bill. He was uncompromising in his pursuit of the process of painting, spending seven days a week in his studio.

 

Boxer’s work attracted the attention of art critic Clement Greenberg who categorized Boxer as one of the ‘color-field’ painters. But Boxer, ever the independent, was adamant in rejecting this label, calling himself “visionless”—meaning he allowed his past art to shape his work but would by no means attempt to shift what that art should look like in the future. His art appears in the collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art (NY) and the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshorn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, amongst many others. In 1975, Boxer was a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship.

 

Stanley Boxer’s paintings are abstract compositions notable for their texture and color, in which small gestures are multiplied to form a single entity—almost as if observing cells under a microscope where individual units coalesce into a whole. His often perplexing titles (take for example, Boxer’s 1978 ‘Peckedperchingsilveredblanch’, a tongue-twister of a word, or the evocative “Cooingnoonflowerlets,” 1974) obscure any immediate understanding of the works; a deep love of language, particularly German, encouraged his playful use of words, combining suggestive nouns and adjectives in much the same way as his approach to painting merged color and form. If there is to be any single, identifiable subject to Boxer’s decidedly abstract works, it is this coming-together of disparate colors, textures and moods.