Munch and Johns and crosshatching

“Take an object
Do something to it
Do something else to it”

– Jasper Johns

 In 2011 I made two photo collage works (see below) dealing with the similarities between the Norwegian Edvard Munch and American Jasper Johns – both outstanding painters and printmakers, both interested in psychological explorations and one associated with European/German expressionism, the other with American abstract expressionism.

I was inspired, of course, by their crosshatching or, rather, John’s use of crosshatching. It was only a short time back that I had visited the Munch Museum in Oslo.

While I have never particularly liked The Scream in any of its versions or his – too many – self portraits, I was struck by the Self Portrait. Between the Clock and the Bed painted between 1940 and 1943:


Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed 1940–3 © Munch Museum/Munch-Ellingsen Group/DACS 2012


And I was fascinated by the crosshatch pattern on the bedspread and Johns’ somewhat similar crosshatching as a connector between the two.

It belongs to the story that I own a few prints by Johns, among them the 1977 Untitled from ULAE – United Limited Art Editions created by legendary Russian American Tatyana Grosman:


Jasper Johns “Untitled” 1977 – Photo from ULAE’s homepage


This is a very typical Johns print from those years: the Savarin instant coffee metal can with paint brushes on a wooden table, the crosshatch pattern in light and dark versions, the image divided in three parts and some enigmatic stuff in the middle – brush dots and fingerprints. (Johns has always been enigmatic, a bit like Bob Dylan*). And it’s printed on a thick rough-surfaced J. Green paper with amazing saturation and depth.

I’ve been looking at it almost every day since 1977.


Little did I know…

Little did I know at the time that 5 years later Continue reading Munch and Johns and crosshatching