Sunday, July 15, 2007

A shoe is a shoe is a shoe, and then some: Andy Warhol

Currently housed at the University of California Sanata Barbara (UCSB) Art Museum is the Andy Warhol Presents exhibition. This is a fascinating exhibition with the core concept Andy Warhol’s earlier works as a fine artist was a prelude to his major works. In the mid 1950s, the young artist was a fashion illustrator and window designer. The thesis is few art historians acknowledge his whimsical commercial drawings of ladies’ shoes as portent to Warhol’s massive, repetitious celebrity portraits on canvas and his frighteningly subversive paintings of auto wrecks and electric chairs. Andy Warhol’s earlier works involved a variety of printmaking processes preferring the medium of monotype whereas his later more famous masterpieces were silk-screened. As an illustrator he used ink to draw on a wax-sealed paper then covered this with another sheet of absorbent, non-sealed paper. This produced a broken line which skipped and trailed off in unexpected ways. This monotype technique was Andy Warhol’s first experiment with printmaking, and the techniques he learned informed his later works for randomizing and lending texture and feeling to his images. The exhibition contains unseen drawing of Warhol protégé, Edie Sedgwick.

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