Some styles cannot be duplicated, only ripped off. Thats the case with artist Roy Lichtenstein, the man responsible for redefining what pop art is and where it could go. After falling prey to unrewarding flings with Cubism and Expressionism, Lichtenstein looked to his sons comics. Then he imagined how one simple frame would tell a story of larger topics: shifting gender roles, commercialism, and eventually, second wave feminist issues. He pounced on this idea, but also added the twist of pixilation. It was a painstakingly laborious process where brush strokes were replaced with Benday dots: tiny dots of paint clustered closely enough together to provide the illusion of a uniform color.
Something happens to you when you stare deep into those Benday dots; you appreciate Lichtenstein on every level, from his point of view to his execution. Also, after a while the image blurs and no longer is it a lonely frame excised from a non-existent comic strip, instead its a beautiful blend of color, like when standing too close to a Monet. If you havent appreciated Roy in a while, why dont you rekindle your affections with a visit to the Norton Museum of Art (1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach)? You can check out its current exhibit of late 19th Century Chinese Paintings today, and then take a break between 1 and 2 p.m. for an informal group chat focused on Roy Lichtensteins 1974 Still Life With Portrait. The discussion will be led by Crissy Bergeron, but will be steered by the groups questions and ideas. This event is free with paid museum admission ($12 for grown-ups). Call 561-832-5196, or visit norton.org.
Wed., Dec. 17, 2008