As I am working away at this new series of layer upon layer of collaged imagery taken from sources ranging from newspaper ads, my own drawings, Renaissance paintings, photographs from magazines, comic book images, photographs I have taken, and otherwise; one of the artists I keep coming back to is Toulouse-Lautrec.
While some of this may be his use of line and color, as his printing methods and techniques were certainly revolutionary, and in some ways the beginning of Pop Art (that is, unless Impressionism is the beginning of Pop Art in terms of using contemporary subjects… regardless) it is TL’s use of space, as with At the Salon On the Rue des Moulins from 1894 as shown above, that has me wondering about how to capture that tension of bending space more and more in my work.
I see this as an inheritance from Degas (as so much of TL is) and something that is furthered in Monet’s late lilies: an extreme tension and uncomfortable intimacy between the flatness of the surface and the depth and compact nature of the abstract space that is created with the line. The image above is a great example of how TL plays against the flatness of his bold lines to create a depth that is perpetually shifting between the truth of the picture plane and the illusion of pictorial expanse. What could be a more perfect allegory for the use of everyday imagery and Pop Art: that which is an illusion versus that which is real?
In any case, I am attempting to chase some of these ideas and techniques in these new pieces. Flat color, layered forms, and heavy line combined with a suggested depth and superficial quality of flat and illusion.
Image above is from toulouse-lautrec-foundation.org
And beyond all that, his use of red here is nothing short of incredible.