Craig F. Starr Gallery is pleased to announce Jasper Johns: Ink on Plastic, on view from April 9 - May 28, 2010. This is the first exhibition to focus on Johns’ drawings in these media. The show features fourteen works spanning five decades of Johns’ career.
In 1961, Johns discovered sheets of plastic in an art and drafting supply shop in Charleston, South Carolina. His earliest works on this support date from 1962, and both are included in this exhibition. Johns has said that he likes working with ink on plastic because of the independence of the material, “that it is difficult to tell from the finished drawing what gestures were used to produce it.” Because the plastic lacks absorbency and the ink takes a long time to dry, the resulting drawing is not only a creation by the artist’s hand, but a manifestation of the nature of the materials themselves. This idea is connected to Johns’ choices of subject matter, such as the prescribed forms of targets of flags, which also remove certain choices from the artist’s control.
Johns’ use of ink on plastic encompasses a range of colors, from the first works which were done in black ink to his luminous use of color inks in the 1980s. Johns has used ink on plastic to render most of his signature motifs, and this show includes a flag, cross-hatchings, a Savarin can, ale cans, and examples from his recent Catenary and Bushbaby series. At times Johns also combines ink with other media such as crayon and watercolor, which adds to the variety of marks and effects as each of the materials behaves different on the plastic surface.
Jasper Johns: Ink on Plastic features rarely-exhibited works from Jasper Johns and private collections across the country. Accompanying the exhibition, is a fully-illustrated catalogue including an essay by Nan Rosenthal, curator-emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.