Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Roy Lichtenstein in a Nutshell

If there were an artist that became famous for his style points, it would probably be Roy Lichtenstein.

Brief Biography

Roy Lichtenstein's artistic "birth" began with his graduate studies (1940 - 1949) under Hoyt Sherman, through whom he learned visual organization abilities (Bader 3). The term "visual organization abilities" is vague: it entailed giving the painting an inherent order by directing the viewer's perception through a focal point. Even in his later work, such as the image "Spray, 1962," Lichtenstein directs the viewer immediately to the aperture of the spray can (Source 1)
This idea dominated his art in the beginning, until around 1956, when he purposefully chose to break this pattern. This period of his consisted mostly of classic American subject matter (Bader 15). He gradually let the influence of abstract artists such as Pollock creep into his work (27), and before long instead of toying with American classical figures, he started using "pop" classical figures (Bader 31). Long story short, Lichtenstein's self-proclaimed first pop work was "Look Mickey," picture included (Bader 43)(image from Source 2). Lichtenstein appears to have started slipping into his garish color scheme and style that made him so famous. Eventually, Lichtenstein marries his abstraction and focus-centered pieces with his new-found pop style in pieces such as "Before the Mirror" (from Source 3)

Style Thoughts/Reasons for Selecting Lichtenstein

Lichtenstein's style is pretty much self explanatory: it is garrish, precise, and jarring. He uses primary colors that are almost visually assaulting, and his "comicky" style allows him the freedom to manipulate perception using traditional "comicky" princples. That is, some of his work uses melodramatic art characteristic of soap opera comics, but the thought put into his canvases causes the audience to get conflicting signals. It is this emotional manipulation that is so powerful and interesting to me; I love comic art, and he takes it to an unprecedented level.

(additional source: Hall of Mirrors, by Graham Bader)

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