Jasper Johns: The Seasons (Fall) (image from here)There are some artists who comprise a separate category for me - a more directly inspirational one. There have always of course been artists whose work I have preferred more than others; but this new category began to form when I embarked on my own attempts at artistic self-expression.The members of the special category are not necessarily inspirational in the same way, for the same reasons, and do not all remain there for the same length of time. But they all have a profound effect, and take over a lot of my thinking - especially just after having seen a significant display of their work.
Today I had meant to visit an exhibition nearby, but I do not want to diminish my thinking about Jasper Johns' work. The exact opposite: I want to develop the thoughts that are forming from my looking and seeing on Sunday. There is the possibility of so much high quality art input these days that I find it difficult to maintain a perspective about what I am doing - or trying to do - and whether I am succeeding in my own terms. And so I'm finding it increasingly necessary to give space around significant input - and as a kind of contradiction to the whole of my previous life - to limit the range and quantity of input. I'm paying more attention to quality over quantity.
Jasper Johns working on one of the Regrets (image from here)
There are several reviews of the Royal Academy exhibition, here, here, and here, and here, here, and here, but they do not come near to the positive reaction I have had. There is an interesting article here.
I am drawn not so much to the flags, the targets, the early Pop Art works; but to the re-examinations, the re-workings, the use of line and space, the careful execution, the attraction to typographic elements, the use of greys, blacks, and colour, the elegance of his thinking, ...
Jasper Johns: Ocean (working proof) (image from here)
... his fascination with optical illusions, the tricks of perception, his borrowings from for example Buckminster Fuller (map as used in the print immediately above), Holbein, Picasso, the John Deakin photograph of Lucian Freud which spurred the Regrets series, ... and how he very much made something so distinctly his own out of it all.