(American, b. 1930)
Support: Japanese laid paper
Sheet: 73.8 x 118.7 cm (29 1/16 x 46 3/4 in.); Image: 69.9 x 115.3 cm (27 1/2 x 45 3/8 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1998.110
© Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Catalogue raisonné: Field; ULAE 216
The pattern of groups of parallel lines in varying directions, a design Johns once saw covering a passing car, appears in a group of paintings and prints entitled Usuyuki. In Japanese usuyuki means "light snow" or something that passes quickly, and the pale colors of the museum's 1977-78 Usuyuki painting (on view in gallery 239) and this print allude to something ephemeral. However, the works are extremely intricate. While the complex pattern of handrawn lines, which forms three triangles or polygons, creates an illusion of three dimensions, the underlying rectangular grid and the circular, brightly colored accents reinforce the flatness of the support. It is this spacial ambiguity that makes Usuyuki visually exciting and mentally stimulating and is characteristic of Johns's strongest work.
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