Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Jim Dine II - robes

This is the second of three consecutive posts on pop artist Jim Dine - for biographical notes on Dine see Part I.

Over his career Jim Dine has produced many series of works focused on certain subject matter, tools, bathrobes and hearts amongst them. Dine began painting bathrobes in 1964; though some were titled or subtitled Self-Portrait. The bathrobe became a motif in his repertoire which he has returned to on many occasions, in prints as well as paintings. Though he claimed never to wear a bathrobe, nonetheless it is an article of collective faith that these are all, in a way, self-portraits.

Pictorially, Dine finds the motif convenient because, absent a human within protruding head and limbs, it neatly fits the rectangular limits of the supports he uses, be they paper, stretched canvas, or wood panel. Relatively flat as well, the bathrobe is an armature for the entire unfolding spectacle of his painterly and graphic invention, a design with which he has become increasingly familiar and adept, incrementally shedding its descriptive function until it stands alone as the thing itself, indivisible.

 1975 Black and White Bathrobe (lithograph)

 1983 Cooper Street Robe (woodcut)

 1984 The Robe Following Her

 1986 Atheism (lithograph)

 1988 Olympic Robe

 1992 Bill Clinton Robe

 1993 Yellow Robe (watercolours, woodcut)

 1995 Very Picante

 1996 Grey Sitting with Me

 2005 Black Ink Robe (lithograph)

 2006 Black Storm of Charcoal

 2007 July on the Palouse (woodcut)

 2007 Sonny Terry

 2008 A Sea of Blood

 2009 Green Rain

 Coloured Dots (lithograph)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Jim Dine - pop artist

Jim Dine is a graphic artist, painter and sculptor associated with pop art. In the first of three posts on his work I am taking a general overview of his output. The next two feature 'dressing gowns' (robes) and 'hearts' respectively.

Dine was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1935. He studied at the University of Cincinnati, the Boston Museum School, and in 1957 received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Ohio University. After graduation, he moved to New York City and became involved with a circle of artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein, all of whose work moved away from abstract expressionism toward pop art.

Like other pop artists, Dine incorporated images of everyday objects in his art, but he diverged from the coldness and impersonal nature of pop art by making works that fused personal passions and everyday experiences. His repeated use of familiar and personally significant objects, such as a robe, hands, tools, and hearts, are signature icons in his art. In his early work, Dine created mostly assemblages in which he attached actual objects to his painted canvases, as in Shoes Walking on My Brain (1960). From 1959 to 1960, Dine also was a pioneer of happenings, works of art that took the form of theatrical events or demonstrations.

In 1967 Dine and his family moved to London, England, where he devoted his energies to printmaking and drawing. When he returned to the United States in 1971, he concentrated on figure drawing. Dine is considered among the most accomplished draftsmen of his generation, and is known for his series of self-portraits and portraits of his wife, Nancy. Dine's attention turned to sculptural work in the early 1980s when he created sculptures based on the ancient sculpture Venus de Milo. His recent art uses imagery borrowed from ancient Greek, Egyptian, and African objects.

 1960 Car Crash #4

 1960 Crash

 1962 Scissors

 1962 Toothbrush and Tumbler

 1966 Toolbox

 1966 Toolbox (2)

 1968 Hose Lamp from 
The Picture of Dorian Gray (lithograph)

 1973 Nutcracker

 1973 Untitled (graphite)

 1976 Paris Smiles in the Darkness

 1976 The Skier

 1978 Strelitzia

 1980 Tree (The Kimono)

 1984 Red Grease (charcoal, pastel, oil-stick)

 1993 Woman on Fire in Vienna (etching)

 1994 For Athena

 1999 Bird of Paradise

 2004 Big Winter Breathing (lithograph)

 2005 Amayllis IV

 2007 Blue Taco

Monday, 21 March 2011

Robert Rauschenberg

After looking at the work of Jasper Johns I thought it appropriate to take a look at the work of another ‘founding father’ of pop art, Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008). I mentioned that in 1954 Jasper Johns had met the artist Rauschenberg when together they decorated the shop window of Tiffany’s. They became lovers, and Rauschenberg soon had great influence on Johns’ own work.

Rauschenberg was both a painter and a sculptor but he also worked with photography, printmaking, papermaking, and performance art.

By the mid 1950s, Rauschenberg was making the wild assemblages and collaged multimedia works in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations. These ‘Combines’ as they were known, are my personal favourites amongst his works – it’s possible to see ideas and elements emerging that would later influence artists like David Hockney and Peter Blake in their formative years.

In 1955 he moved into a studio in the same neighborhood as Jasper Johns. In 1958 he had his first exhibition at the Leo Castelli gallery
In 1959 he was represented at the documenta 2, Kassel, and at the Paris and São Paulo Biennales.
In 1962 he first used the technique of silkscreen on canvas, mixed with painting, collage and affixed objects. In 1963 he was given his first retrospective exhibition in Europe at the Galerie Sonnabend, Paris, also shown at the Jewish Museum, New York. In 1964 he had a retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and won the Grand Prix at the Venice Biennale.

By the 1970s, Rauschenberg began his now signature procedure of building visual fields from collisions of appropriated media images: snippets from magazines, newspapers and trashy pulp fiction - silk-screened and manipulated to blend and battle on fabric, canvas, metal and glass, you name it.
Rauschenberg’s work gave new meaning to sculpture. Canyon for instance, consisted of a stuffed bald eagle attached to a canvas. Monogram was a stuffed goat girdled by a tyre sitting on a painted panel. Bed entailed a quilt, sheet and pillow, covered in paint. All became icons of post-war modernism.

1959 Canyon

1955-1959 Monogram (freestanding combine)

Rauschenberg once said “I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles are ugly, because they’re surrounded by things like that all day long, and it must make them miserable.”

A large retrospective of his work was shown in several American cities from 1976-78. In 1980 he had retrospectives at Berlin, Düsseldorf, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Munich and London. In 1981 his photographs were shown at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1993.

Robert Rauschenberg died aged 82 at his home on Captiva Island, Florida, in 2008.

 1950 Pilgrim

 1954 Charlene (combine)

 1954 Collection

 1954 Minutiae (freestanding combine)

 1955 Bed (combine painting)

 1955 Hymnal (combine)

 1955 Interview (combine)

1955 Rebus

 1955 Untitled (combine)

 1956 Small Rebus

 1957 Factum II (combine)

 1962 Brace (oil and silkscreen ink)

 1963 Estate (oil and silkscreen ink)

 1963 Tracer (oil and silkscreen ink)

 1963 Untitled (combine)

 1964 Harbour (oil and silkscreen ink)

 1964 Retroactive I (oil and silkscreen ink)

Note: A number of images have been removed by me from this post on possible copyright issues. Poul Webb