Leslie Sacks Contemporary is pleased to announce an exhibition of prints by world-renowned New York artist James Rosenquist. This exhibition will include a suite of six prints from 1999, one large-scale work from 1982, and Rosenquist’s latest print, which was completed in 2011. The exhibition follows the recent installation of F-111, 1964-65 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Rosenquist is known for creating large-scale works, which derive from his early career as a commercial billboard painter. In the 1960s, the artist began to incorporate imagery from billboards into his paintings. Rosenquist was considered a pop artist because of this advertising imagery, however his works are more concerned with political statements and formal artistic investigations. In comparison to Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Rosenquist possessed a virtuosic talent for rendering imagery by hand. He was interested in blending color and grayscale, and creating depth in his massive paintings.
In 1982, Rosenquist worked with the preeminent print atelier Universal Limited Art Editions to create a lithograph, which memorialized his 1979 masterpiece Dog Descending a Staircase. Immense in scale (40 x 70 inches), the lithograph is a play on Marcel Duchamp’s infamous Nude Descending a Staircase, 1912. Rosenquist’s version features juxtaposed objects that seemingly bear no relation to one another yet come together to form a cohesive visual and psychological narrative. Snapshots of industrial machinery, a doll’s head and the titular dog descending a staircase, are stand-ins for the figures of man, woman and machine. By taking these identifiable images, so familiar to the viewer, and reassembling them in an unfamiliar, abstract composition, Rosenquist imbues the objects with a new meaning that comments on contemporary American society.
In 1999, Rosenquist created The Speed of Light advertising imagery and instead explored the artist’s ongoing fascination with space and time. Referencing the phenomena of the solar system, these works feature increasingly elaborate compositions. Images overlay and interlock to form a chaotic abstract landscape. Rosenquist has likened the imagery to the altered view of the universe that one would get if traveling at the speed of light.
The Memory Continues but the Clock Disappears, 2011 is Rosenquist’s most recent edition. The piece is a framed lithograph that features an etched, hand-colored, rotating mirror emblazoned with the numbers of a clock. The work stems from a series that Rosenquist calls The Hole in the Center of Time, a set of works inspired by a pivotal visit the artist made to a cave in Spain. Leaving Rosenquist with an eerie feeling, the experience provoked a body of work dealing with the theme of perception - both in terms of self and the cosmos. The piece signifies an older Rosenquist who is concerned with the passage of time and is reflecting on his own life narrative. It poses questions about how space and time shift in an evolving universe and how we evolve simultaneously.