A guide to art in NYC, with families in mind.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Roy Lichtenstein: Landscapes in the Chinese Style

The artist Roy Lichtenstein is primarily known for his pop art images  inspired by comic strips and advertisements,  from the 1950's.   I wasn't aware of his later works inspired by Chinese landscapes, until  I saw the current exhibit at the Gagosian gallery in Chelsea.  Most of the canvases are very large and all are done in his signature "benday style"  (hand  stenciled meticulously reproduced dots).   In Chinese landscapes the sky water and land mysteriously cling together in a dreamy mist of brush strokes.   Lichtenstein re-created this look by layering the canvas with blocks of dots in subtle colors and abstract forms.  There are references to human life in the shape of very small boats or people that pop up in unexpected areas of the canvas. They look determined not to be swallowed up by the elements in the world they inhabit. Ask your children to find them and then marvel at how little color and line the artist needs to suggest a form or an object.  The dots become more pronounced as you walk closer and closer to the image.   Perfect for all.  The exhibit is up until April 7th.
Gagosian Gallery 555 West 24th 
Landscape with Grass, 1996
Oil on magna on canvas
110 x 38 inches  (279.4 x 96.5 cm)
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Photography by Robert McKeever