Exhibition, Modern One of The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 13th March 2015 -10th January 2016
By Amelia Aston
At the same time a paradox is presented; the metal swirls on these works were created one by one, making them labour-intensive works to produce, going against the ideas that industrialisation and Pop Art rely on automatism. Furthermore, although Lichtenstein has here made additions to his colour palette, it is still rather limited, and his colour plains are uniform and lack dimension, creating a childlike take on Impressionism. The reflection of the cloud in 'Water Lilies with Cloud' especially has a very solid quality rather than being a reflection of something transient.
The main room of the exhibition displays works from Lichtenstein's 'Reflections' series, reworking his earlier works and taking a more distanced look on Pop Art in general. By painting a 'frame' and a 'glass' in front of these works Lichtenstein abstracts these pieces and makes them more private, so that the viewer has to work to get through to what's going on underneath. Indeed, works such as Reflections on Conversation (1990) seem to conceal more than they reveal. If there are speech or thought bubbles they are concealed under the artificial reflections of the imagined glass and while the gaze between the woman and the man is shown, their mouths are concealed, creating an impenetrable intimacy.
The Artist Rooms exhibition masterfully display some of the key themes of Lichtenstein's later works and seems to make a sort of art historians' joke: like the pieces selected suggest, it is always hard to access the frame of mind of a long-gone artist, as time adds its own layer of make-belief glass in front of our eyes. We are always forced to look at art through the lenses of our own time. The exhibition tackles huge themes but does so elegantly and efficiently in what is a rather small space. The size of this space actually works to its advantage, as adding more pieces would have made the conclusions of these themes less poignant. Overall, the exhibition offers an interesting and rather different view of the legend that is Roy Lichtenstein, one that both Pop Art novices and aficionados will appreciate.
ARTIST ROOMS: Roy Lichtenstein, 13th March 2015 − 10th January 2016 | Modern One (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) | Free
Press release: Highlights, Read More
Images are courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland.
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