Roy Lichtenstein revisited the landscape motif numerous times throughout his career. His vast Landscapes, Moonscapes and Seascapes comprise several individual series of prints. Sunshine Through the Clouds from 1985 belongs to the painterly Landscapes suite. The print mainly appropriates the formal attributes of landscape painting. However, it also imitates brushstrokes, thereby critiquing the idealised brushwork of the abstract expressionists.
In accordance with its title, Sunshine Through the Clouds depicts a reflective waterscape. The work relies on poignant details, as it presents a simple image charged with complex associations. The entire scene is composed of intersecting pastel-toned and primary coloured brushstrokes. The hand-painted sweeps interact energetically with the mechanical aspects of the artist’s own style. Consequently, the layout of the print becomes similarly abstracted as Lichtenstein’s concurrent Brushstroke Faces and Seven Apple Woodcuts.
It is with these stylised abstract expressionist brushstroke variations that Lichtenstein captures the essence of a natural setting. Translated into the conventional language of the landscape genre, the imitations appear instinctive and integrated. While Lichtenstein’s simulated painterly gestures symbolise shifting light and nature in motion, the detached cartoon elements produce spatial ambiguities. These strokes seem to have been cut out and pasted on, steering attention toward the surface texture of the work.