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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Lichtenstein Retrospective at Tate Modern


Last week, I was at Tate Modern to see the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition. His early iconic work of the sixties, the enlarged comic strip images with their bright colours and graphic quality, still retain a freshness and playfulness fifty years on. After (purposely) first viewing the wonderfully brooding Seagram Murals by Mark Rothko, in their dimly lit room, the Lichtenstein paintings seemed all the more joyful and exuberant. 

 Lichtenstein made his paintings look like 'prints' with the use of stencils to create dots ( like Ben-Day dots) and stripes etc. He applied paint evenly without obvious brushstrokes. As I am working on a series of prints at the moment I found his black and white series of particular interest. These deceptively simple Still Life paintings, whether a tyre, or a glass with ice or a ball of twine, are strong graphic images. I am struck by the centrality of the object within the picture, the balance of tones and the hard, graphic lines which give the object form and shape. There is something very satisfying about these images. 


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