With Roy Lichtenstein's most famous works—representational appropriations of advertising, comic books, and the history of art—he rebuked his own early abstract output and the visceral expressionism of many of his New York peers. Starting in 1978, though, Roy returned to the idea of pure abstraction with his Perfect/Imperfect series. The works in this series share a compositional similarity in their use of line. Roy's game-like idea for a simple and meaningless way to create an abstraction was to draw a continuous line, stopping at the edge of the canvas, and continuing back into the canvas at a different angle. Eventually, the line connects to where it started.
This process most specifically describes the perfect paintings, where the line always stops precisely at the edge of the canvas. The imperfect paintings contain "mistakes," where the line "accidentally" extends beyond the edge of the canvas. These mistakes were supported by framed triangles of canvas grafted onto the edge of the main rectangular canvas. Leave it to Lichtenstein to work so hard to make a mistake.
This series represents not just a stylistic departure for Lichtenstein, but one of process and meaning as well. He created his representational works by projecting sketches (copied from source material) onto a canvas as a guide for the paint he laid down. The compositions of the Perfect/Imperfect works originated with Roy. More radically, Roy was happy to cede these paintings to the realm of decor, comparing them to the artwork you'd see hanging above a couch on the set of a sitcom. Roy seems to have embraced this idea early on, as works in the Perfect/Imperfect style appear as wall decoration in his Artist's Studios series of the early-to-mid 1970s (see Artist's Studio with Model or Artist's Studio "Foot Medication"), several years before he produced a singular freestanding work in the style.
So, if for some reason you hate representational artwork but still love benday dots, the Perfect/Imperfect paintings are for you. See 'em before September 3!
18 hours 27 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Chicago Splash previews Moholy-Nagy: Future Present, a retrospective on the Bauhaus designer who also made his mark in Chicago—opening at the Art Institute October 2.
20 hours 49 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SUNDAY—Design Episodes: The Modern Chair
Explore the evolution of the modern chair in the 20th century with iconic examples from makers like Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, and Harry Bertoia, among others.
THE MODERN CHAIR—http://bit.ly/2dD4Xy0
1 day 16 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SOON—Supernatural Shakespeare
While Shakespeare’s title characters might have the most name recognition, the Bard’s meddling witches and mischievous faerie folk often steal the show. See this focused installation before it closes October 10.