Jasper Johns is one of the most important artists of our time. This book offers the first comprehensive study of his art since 1980, a period in which the artist has made some of his most moving and challenging work. Looking primarily at Johns’s paintings and works on paper, and drawing on conversations with the artist, Fiona Donovan provides the context for this later work and explores its visual and iconographic complexity.
In the years 1980–2015, Johns’s imagery ranged from investigations of his own earlier subject matter and personal history to a much broader humanist discourse. Spiritual, moral and sexual themes run through his work, as well as ruminations on memory and mortality. Donovan also examines associations between poetry and Johns’s art as well as the artist’s absorption with appropriation and abstraction of images taken from such diverse sources as Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece, Cézanne, Picasso, and the Vietnam War photographer Larry Burrows.
Johns’s abiding curiosity is reflected in his stylistic changes, and the shifting themes, motifs and moods of his work are all underpinned by his exceptional painterly skill and interest in process, as demonstrated in the magisterial works presented here, from ‘The Seasons’ and the ‘Catenary’ paintings to the more recent series, ‘Regrets’.
Jasper Johns: Pictures within Pictures provides a unique opportunity to view and further understand the compellingly beautiful and intriguing works by an artist who continues to be at the forefront of American art.