Device by Jasper Johns

Device - Jasper Johns -

Artwork Information

ArtistJasper Johns
Art MovementAbstract Expressionism

About Device

The artwork titled “Device” by Jasper Johns, is a prime example of the Abstract Expressionism art movement. As an abstract piece, it strays from depicting the physical world directly, instead offering an emotive and dynamic interplay of colors and forms to evoke meaning and elicit a visceral response.

Upon examining the artwork, one is immediately drawn to its vibrant, expressive brushstrokes. Two large, concentric circles dominate the upper half of the composition, rendered with a circular motion that suggests movement and dynamism. They could be interpreted as targets or spinning discs, introducing a sense of action within the otherwise static medium. A straight, black object cuts diagonally across the right circle, introducing stark contrast and challenging the whirl of circular strokes with its rigid linearity.

The color palette of “Device” is striking, consisting of bold reds, yellows, blues, and whites with patches of orange and gray. This use of primary colors underscores the abstract expressionist’s fascination with raw color as a means of conveying emotion. The lower section of the painting features the letters “DEVICE” stenciled in rough, vertical succession. The paint is applied in a more chaotic, textural manner here, overlaying the text and integrating it into the overall cacophony of shapes and impressions.

Furthermore, the overlay of pigment, the visibility of brushstrokes, and the seemingly impulsive application of paint all highlight the physical process of the artwork’s creation. In true abstract expressionist style, there is a sense that the painting itself is a record of the artist’s interaction with his materials, with each stroke documenting a moment of Johns’s gestural decisions.

“Device” is thus a powerful embodiment of the expressive potential of abstract art, offering a multifaceted sensory experience that invites viewers to contemplate the interplay between form, color, and text in the search for meaning.

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