Lichtenstein: More Than Just Dots

Roy Lichtenstein has always been one of my favourite artists, so I was excited to hear that the Tate were running an exhibition of his work this Spring. I thought I knew his portfolio reasonably well, but apparently I was wrong. The vast collection travelled through his work chronologically, and I learnt a huge amount about his techniques and influences, and how intricate and technical pop art really is.

When I say Lichtenstein, you probably think of these women in distress…

Or the infamous ‘Whaam!’

As you can tell, he was heavily influenced by old-fashioned comic books. He defined pop art through parodying art as the world knew it. He’s known for his use of Ben-Day dots, primary colours and thick black outlines. His work distorts the realism of his subject and transforms it with a uniform, mass-produced effect, reflecting the material culture of society. As Lichtenstein himself put it: “I want my painting to look as if it had been programmed”.

But he did a lot more than the comic strip paintings he’s known for. Fot example, he went through a period of Chinese inspiration…

He experimented with black and white…

He challenged the very boundaries of his canvas, by carrying lines outside of it

He put his own twist on the classic nude…

He even imitated and parodied artists of the past, including Picasso, Matisse and Mondrian…

The Tate exhibition gives a thorough insight into Lichtenstein’s work throughout his lifetime, displaying his influences, techniques and experiments. It also allows a close-up examination of his work, showing the intricacies of his infamous Ben-Day dots, and the clean, almost inhumanly perfect lines. You’ll be surprised by how big his paintings are, and how precise his work is. It’s well worth seeing it in the flesh (or in the canvas, you might say).

Lichtenstein: A Retrospective is open at the Tate Modern until 27th May 2013. 

Lots of Razz love, Katy xxx



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