Jasper Johns’ painting Target with Plaster Casts from 1955 is a classic example of how he transforms familiar images into tangible objects. Using wax encaustic, the artist builds up the surface while making the concentric circles less precise and more tactile. Above the target, he adds four eyes that are eyeless, an apt metaphor for eyes, serving both painter and audience its due.
From 1955 to 1961, the prolific artist produced several dozen paintings and drawings that explored this device. Aside from creating a visual contrast (seeks attention), Johns was highly interested in theme and motifs whose sources were unknown in our modern life. He used primary colors such as red, black, and yellow to color his target; thereby showing us that even something basic can be extraordinary when done with passion and creativity.
Target with Plaster Casts is a stunning example of Jasper Johns’ masterful talent for producing unique works of art. Through this painting, we see how he transformed a familiar image into something tangible and captivating. With its primary colors and metamorphosis we can appreciate Johns’ vision to make something ordinary extraordinary.