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Sheer Line

Rosenquist, James

Sheer Line

color lithograph on paper, ed. 83/100

1990 Purchase funded by the Albert & Helen Thalheimer Fund of the Greater Kanawha Valley Fou

James Rosenquist began his career as a commercial artist. The experience of painting commercial images on the scaffolding over New York's Times Square was critical for the paintings he began to produce in the early 1960s. His paintings and prints of fragmented objects utilize the hard-edge techniques of billboard designs. He incorporates parts of objects such as pens, bottles, tires, and cars in a precise and formal composition that captures aspects of human emotions and life in America. "It's about communication. I want it to be filled with images and feelings that you can't achieve through language." He is elusive about the exact meaning of his art. "I try to paint layers and layers and layers of ideas, and let them seep out as slowly as possible. You only think you see it all instantly." His work is meant to be sensed rather than verbally defined. There is no "correct" way to read or interpret Rosenquist's work. "Sheer Line" combines fragmented images of a glass bottle, a boat, a fountain pen tip, lips, and the ribbed edge of a jar lid. The colors and crisply defined images give "Sheer Line" the appearance of a commercial billboard in which the message is not clarified.