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Jasper Johns: New Paintings and Works on…

Jasper Johns: New Paintings and Works on Paper

by Gary Garrels

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0918471540, Paperback)

Though Jasper Johns is probably most famous for the now-iconic flag paintings he made during the 1950s, he continues to produce great paintings today. This latest body of work--first shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art--dates to the very late '90s. And this beautifully produced exhibition catalog offers readers a glimpse at and insight into the work called the Bridge series. There is a loneliness to these paintings, with their dark palette and single strings of color set against expansive gray spaces. The solitary strings allude to the cables of suspension bridges and hang in front of the pictures with a swooped, gravity-induced curve. The dark, mysterious quality of the canvasses is brightened somewhat by details like that of a harlequin's diamond pattern painted in muted colors. Childhood imagery appears here, too--a dragon figure from a long ago Halloween, for one. Though at first glance these moody, memory-imbued paintings seem very different from much of the painter's other work, Johns's trademark themes are not entirely absent. His predilection for playing up the sculptural elements of painting is evident in the pieces of wood framing he's attached to these and the illusion of painted wood framing around the edges of the works. While the Bridge series works represent something of a departure for Johns, the paintings maintain a strong connection to the motifs he's investigated throughout his career. This is a meditative and fascinating art book experience. [86 pages, 13 full-color plates, 15 black-and-white illustrations] --J.P. Cohen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:30 -0400)

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