Just in time for the 4th of July weekend, I want to introduce you to an artist with southern roots that everyone should get to know. Jasper Johns is an artist who was born in Georgia, raised in South Carolina, and rose to fame as one of the most important American Painters of the 20th century. Take a look at one of his most famous works: Flag from 1954.
With Jasper Johns, things are not always as they seem. He used the flag in order to comment on flatness in modern painting, and used dense brushwork to imitate the strokes of Abstract Expressionists like Jackson Pollock, although in a controlled and deliberate manner. Here’s a closer look at the above painting, which shows his use of encaustic (wax mixed with pigment):
It has also been suggested that the flag is a sort of autobiographical reference, referring to Johns’ time in the military, or the Revolutionary war hero after which he was named.
Johns’ breakthrough move was to adopt popular iconography in painting, paving the way for pop artists like Andy Warhol.
Take a closer look at Jasper Johns’ work and see what it means to you…
Have a Happy 4th!