Roy Lichtenstein completed his eight-part multimedia sequence entitled Paintings in 1984. The elaborate prints in this series not only prove his outstanding talent as a print maker, but also demonstrate his innovative conceptual range. Lichtenstein’s Paintings exhibit fictitious picture frames as their central motif.
The evocative painterly gestures present in these works are borrowed from fine art, mimicking the artistic manner of Abstract Expressionism. Lichtenstein’s concurrent Seven Apple Woodcuts and later Brushstroke Faces achieve similar imitations of abstract expressionist brushwork. The artist supplements his intricate Paintings with the detached forms of his own comic book aesthetic. As a result, Lichtenstein evokes an added layer of self-parody in this series.
Painting On Canvas presents the majority of an imaginary artwork, framed and mounted on a striped wall. The slick print showcases a dense and energetic composition of interacting pastel tones and primary colours. Lichtenstein utilises both hand-painted and machine-made patterns. As such, the work contrasts expressive grey and blue sweeps against schematic white and cream cartoon strokes. The pigments are superimposed on a black and white faux-burlap background, making the canvas appear spatially ambiguous. Using foil to contain the interwoven colours, the artist envelops the brushstrokes in a classic silver frame.