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JASPER JOHNS - V.2

Discussion in 'Art & Design' started by High Priest, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. High Priest

    High Priest Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 1, 2002 Messages: 4,928 Likes Received: 3
    "At the age of twenty-four, living in New York City, he made the decision, as he describes it, to stop becoming an artist and actually be one. A dream led him to paint the American flag. He began to paint other iconic "found" images such as targets and numbers. These works were the polar opposite of abstract expressionism, the reigning style in New York City in the 1950s. Abstract expressionism was about the individual artist's cathartic self-expression, but Johns' paintings were cool, disengaged, and impersonal. He also painted recognizable images, which had all but disappeared from the art of that time. "


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  2. High Priest

    High Priest Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 1, 2002 Messages: 4,928 Likes Received: 3
  3. High Priest

    High Priest Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 1, 2002 Messages: 4,928 Likes Received: 3
  4. Verbal Kint

    Verbal Kint Member

    Joined: Oct 25, 2004 Messages: 760 Likes Received: 0
    Johns is dope - i perfer Raushenberg
     
  5. DIBS

    DIBS Senior Member

    Joined: Dec 11, 2000 Messages: 1,302 Likes Received: 1
    excellent thread topic. johns is hands down my favorite painter ever.
     
  6. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 233
    dibs,
    if you feel like explaining what you feel about him, i'd love to hear it, cause for the most part, i don't get him at all.
     
  7. Joker

    Joker Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Apr 7, 2000 Messages: 5,266 Likes Received: 83
    Personally, I'm not a fan. I want to say that it's because I'm not a fan of the style of work but I know there's some deeper issues to be dealt with here. Mainly the issue of my High School art teacher, whom I had for four years straight, was in love with Johns work. And deep down wanted us all to paint like him.

    I'm sure for the time dude was hitting the nail square on the head. Breaking the mold that was modern art at that time. But unfortunately, and this is my opinion, his work doesn't stand up to the test of time. If I were a twenty something artist in the sixties or even the seventies... I'd have bitten this guys work like everyone else did. But when I first became aware of his work... it did very little for me. Not even his color theory flags, which are cool in their own way but kinda like a beautiful whore on the street corner. You drive by, exclaim "Holy shit did you see that?" and by the end of the night you've all but forgotten about it.

    As I said, I have my issues with Jasper Johns but I think they're biased. So for those that dig... ignore my post.
     
  8. DIBS

    DIBS Senior Member

    Joined: Dec 11, 2000 Messages: 1,302 Likes Received: 1
    Well all right, I guess for me to pinpoint exactly why I like his work so much is hard, on a very basic level it just touches me I guess or I relate to it. from his use of color of even his black and white/grey pieces I am a very big fan of his choices and how he uses them against each other, not exactly colors I would or do normally work with but his sense of color really works for me, I get a sense of struggle or conflict form his color choices. His use of icons, i.e.: the flag, map of the US, for me its an interesting idea, or at least at the time was, to use an everyday somewhat impersonal object and paint it, to paint some emotion into it, to almost reinvent it as an idea beyond what it was originally intended to be thought of. Duchamp had done similar things but in using the actual object. So I imagine Johns, as many painters of his generation, was deeply influenced by this. I also like how he took these objects, targets, flags, maps etc and did multiple reworks of the theme, which in a way reminds me of graffiti, and how as a writer you constantly rework a system of letters or your name, always using the same theme and creating a new work or interpretation of that existing theme (his numbers series). I really appreciate the heavy and varied brush strokes, which give his paintings a movement and an energy that I can relate to in my own paintings. I often paint and try to use the brush strokes as a way of giving the piece a texture or to convey a sense of emotion or energy as if the stroke is the actual focus of the piece. His paintings often look labored over to me, and I get that feeling from the erratic, heavy and intense brush strokes he chooses to use. I am also inspired by his story, someone living in New York, living as an artist, painting, and he had a lot of paintings before he was discovered (or so the story goes) but then had his epiphany, “to stop becoming an artist and actually be one”. At this point he says he took all of his existing paintings and started over, painted over everything. That to me is a big risk, to just say fuck it and start over. I like that. Really what Johns did at this point, he really broke away from the existing status quo of abstract expression painters and started to paint recognizable objects in a new light. Together he and Rauschenberg really started what many would say became pop art. The other painters of that time were still painting and were fixated on the idea of very cerebral paintings, very abstract and without any recognizable object. The two of them rebelled against this idea and brought back more recognizable themes to there work.
    But overall, if I had to pin it down, I would say brush strokes/technique and the constant reworking of themes/objects. Plus encaustic (bees wax and pigment) is a rad medium to use in painting. It’s an ancient Greek method of painting that up until Johns started to do use it again starting with the targets (my favorite Johns pieces) was a dead art form. But to be clear, I am a fan of Johns’ early works, not such a fan of his later pieces from say the late 70’s on. I am a very big fan of this whole era of paintings, from Johns to his across the hall neighbor Rauschenberg. I enjoy Motherwell a great deal and also someone who you like Barnett Newman. With his giant paintings of jagged colors overlapping and taking over another colors territory. I like Joseph Cornels box pieces and I like John Tinguely and his self destructing painting machines, and I adore Duchamps works, the more painted and sculptural pieces (large glass). I am a sucker for the abstract expressionists. Does any of this make sense? let me know.
     
  9. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 233
    makes total sense and it's a much better explanation than i was expecting, so thanks for putting in the effort.
    i like the part about him casting off his former approach, and especially of painting over his previous work. being a chicken shit myself, i know what a difficult thing that probably was. it's not only taking a new approach, but it's insuring that you follow that new course. burning bridges when you have a clear view of a successfull future is easy, burning a bridge with nothing but good intentions is hardcore.
    i also definitely feel the use of brush strokes almost as focal point. it's something i've started to get more into over the last year or two. i cant say that i necessarily feel what he's doing with it specifically, since i'm much more of a fan of giant blocks of color, but i can respect the theory and intention.

    thanks for breaking it down.
    (thanks to you as well joker)
     
  10. Overtime

    Overtime Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Apr 22, 2003 Messages: 13,986 Likes Received: 311
    im really feeling that original 5 he's got layed down, but some of his work im not feeling...
     
  11. DIBS

    DIBS Senior Member

    Joined: Dec 11, 2000 Messages: 1,302 Likes Received: 1
    no sweat. i really enjoy discussing topics like this and it helps me to figure out what i feel and put it all in order, i appreciate the push to do so.
     
  12. porque

    porque Senior Member

    Joined: May 5, 2002 Messages: 1,844 Likes Received: 0
    ...i think you may have missed the point that johns was trying to convey with his work, and most specifically his use of texture with the brush stroke...the abstract expressioinsts were the ones that where intrigued with conveying emotion in their brush stoke...a representation of so called 'artistic angst'...johns and others didn't really buy it however...and the popularity and overwhealming critical hype of abstract expressioninsm quickly led to the rise of movements that intetionally challenged the ideas of Abst. Ex....the power and purity of the brush stroke with all of its emotional significance being one of the early targets along with the almost devine importance that was being placed on painting...so people like johns and rauchenberg began to challenge these concepts with their work...with the flag paintings, johns sought to challenge ideals of symbols and objects...these are not paintings of flags, these are flags (...likewise with the target paintings)...with johns, paintings where treated as objects, not paintings (...an idea explored to much greater depth by frank stella a few years later)...the thick encaustic paint is not used to convey emotion, but instead to tell the viewer, 'this is just paint on a canvas'...the work of artists like johns helped to usher in the inevitable end of modernism and the beginning of what we now simply refer to as 'contemporary'...
    ...one of my favorite johns painting was done a few years later when he painstakingly mimicked the drips and splashes in a painting like pollocks or dekoonings with a number one brush and a magnifying glass...
     
  13. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 233
    from what i can tell, i dont like pollock very much either.
    when i was 4 or 5 though, i set up a big piece of paper (36x48) on the floor and just splashed paint across it, getting it all over the walls, cupboards, floor etc. it was a thick paint, so it made litttle 'terrain'. i thought i was making a cool new kind of painting...turns out there was some guy ten times my age doing the same right and getting tons of money for it.
    that was the last thing i ever invented.
     
  14. fermentor666

    fermentor666 Veteran Member

    Joined: Sep 27, 2003 Messages: 8,152 Likes Received: 15
    Well, Pollock died in 1956, seeking, so he was doing the whole paint splatter thing well before anyone here except maybe Kabar was born. You should check out the film on him that was released a couple of years ago. Sometimes, knowing the background of an artist can make a person understand them better, if not appreciate them. Pollock was very passionate about his paintings, and I think that translates onto the canvas.

    I like Jasper Johns, not crazy about him but I enjoy it enough not to look away. My aunt and uncle actually knew him for a while when he was starting out.

    And for god's sake someone pay attention to the Ron English thread I started.
     
  15. fermentor666

    fermentor666 Veteran Member

    Joined: Sep 27, 2003 Messages: 8,152 Likes Received: 15
    Another thing about Pollock, is that if you look at some of his pre-drip work and compare it to his drip paintings, you can see resembalences that seem to prove he actually was working towards an actual image rather than a bunch of splatters.
     
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