15 February - 11 March 1995

Roy Lichtenstein


Roy Lichtenstein did not draw from live models when he created his Nudes. Rather, he worked from 1960s comic book caricatures of women, removing their outfits and adding references to earlier works he has done such as the Reflections, Imperfect, Water Lily, and Interior Series. These are Lichtenstein's first comic book style, full-body nudes. They are purposefully bland, stripped of corporal attributes, bearing little relation to nature. Nonetheless, they are adorned in Lichtenstein's witty language, unabashedly flaunting bright colour patterns and bold lines.

With masterful jest, Lichtenstein depicts this classical theme using his sardonic vernacular The Nudes pulsate with dots and stripes, accentuating with colour fields of pastel tones that are reminiscent of a 1930s Art Deco palette. The white wove papers hold rich printings of ink which were offset from relief plates. This form of printing deposits voluptuous layers of pigment to paper, defining printed elements with crisp edges. By employing a vocabulary of Benday dot patterns and stripes as modelling devices, Lichtenstein develops a fanciful Pop chiaroscuro that in one instance lends depth and solidity to a shape and in another simply adds two-dimensional colour and texture.

The Nudes reveal more about the artist's visual language than female form, expressing more about composition than subject matter. Lichtenstein describes the nude figures in this suite of prints as a good excuse to contrast undulating and volumetric form with rigid geometry. The resemblance to cartoon Lolitas only addresses the amusing, slightly kitsch veneer of these elegant arabesques.

In late 1993, Roy Lichtenstein first made his Nudes as collage studies in his New York studio. Using the collages as models for the prints, he hand-cut Rublith stencils for the outline of each image at Tyler Graphics Ltd. in early 1994. five of these key outline films were made into magnesium relief printing plates and one into a plastic relief plate. The dot gradations were created on a computer and transferred to positive film by Swan Engraving Co., Inc. TGL printers hand-cut Rubylith stencils for each of the colour shapes and diagonal stripes. The stencils and films were then registered to the original outline stencils and made into individual colour relief printing plates. The editions were printed on 350 gram Rives BFK mould-made paper on two flatbed offset printing presses. In October 1994, the artist signed each print, "RF Lichtenstein," numbered, and dated them on the lower right margin, with the workshop chop mark next to his signature.

Collaboration on this project was under the supervision of Kenneth Tyler; preparatory tracing and film work by John Hutcheson, Kevin Falco and Tyler; plate preparation and processing by Hutcheson, Christopher Creyts and Pete Duchess; proofing by Hutcheson and Creyts with edition printing by Hutcheson, Creyts, Lee Funderburg and Falco. Complete technical information for each edition appears on the print documentation sheet, available upon request.

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