Roy Lichtenstein’s insightful Landscapes, Moonscapes and Seascapes span over thirty years of his artistic practice. The sequence transforms the conventions of landscape painting into brilliant superimpositions of colours, shapes and materials. As part of his extensive project, the artist completed several autonomous portfolios.
Seascape belongs to the picturesque Landscapes suites of 1985. The print’s layout appears as abstracted as Lichtenstein’s concurrent Brushstroke Faces and later Reflections series. Reduced to essential compositional elements, the work captures an imaginary waterscape with low-hanging clouds. Lichtenstein intertwines hand-painted components with geometrical shapes to imitate the reflective attributes of the water’s surface. Folded between the choppy vibrant waves one finds the mirror image of the heavy skies surging above. The artist accumulates the pigments in the middle of the composition, converging the colours into warped simulations of natural light.
Seascape relies on these poignant details, as it presents a simple portrait charged with complex associations. Besides dissecting the traditional features of landscape painting, the Landscapes series integrates an additional referential layer. The explosive pastel-toned and primary coloured scenes in this suite imitate the idealised brushwork of the abstract expressionists. These emotive brushstrokes mimic nature in motion, while also critiquing the authenticity granted painterly gestures in the past.