Breaking with the artistic traditions that preceded him, Roy Lichtenstein was inspired by the mass-produced visual imagery of 1960s popular culture. He developed his own unique iconography centring on the use of Ben Day dots, thick black outlines, and saturated primary colours. This signature visual language led Lichtenstein to become one of the most recognisable artists of the 20th century.
Water Lily Pond with Reflections is an arresting piece from Lichtenstein’s 1992 Water Lilies. It is striking for the way in which it embodies the artist’s long-held fascination with light and reflections. Lichtenstein explored the challenge of representing the phenomena in graphic form in several bodies of work, including Reflections, Mirrors, and Interiors. His approach involved distilling ideas and messages into objects, symbols, and simplified forms. As such, he applied vertical black lines, Ben Day dots and white panels onto his canvases.
Lichtenstein’s interest in reflections also led him to experiment with different materials and processes suggestive of shadows and panes of light. With his Water Lilies, the artist sought to create a reflective surface as his base, using his signature ‘machine-made’ aesthetic. After experimenting with different metals, he chose stainless steel onto which he produced a swirled or dotted shiny picture plane.