Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Inspiration: Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns, White Flag, 1955, encaustic, newsprint, and charcoal over canvas (source)

Jasper Johns, Numbers in Colour, 1958-59, (source)

Jasper Johns, Green target, 1955, encuastic and newsprint over canvas, (source)
I was going to post about Frank Stella this week- his simple clean edges are much more in line with what I'm working on right now- (a simple illustrative painting intended for N), but I couldn't get into his work right now- and I googled Jasper Johns, and I was suddenly taken with that work instead. I've always loved Jasper Johns (it's a great name for a start- very artsy), I think his work is daring, and strong, and witty. I think it appeals to me right now because he manages to combine such a painterly surface with clean lines- or suggestions of clean lines.

I love the way he uses symbols in his work- the way he lets your mind fill in the blanks- despite a monochrome colour scheme- we still know what symbol he's manipulating- it's like he's hiding things in plain sight, and somehow by manipulating these symbols (that we frequently revere- whether consciously or not) his art seems more playful, and yet serious- full of contrasts. I love how his art is really seriously and heavily worked- without seeming to get any tighter, so that it still seems effortless. I actually feel a little silly saying that I love this art, because Jasper Johns works are so confidant and so effortlessly true, I don't know how anyone could not love them.

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