1st Etchings, 2nd State (Paint Brushes)
Jasper Johns (1930- ) was born in Augusta, Georgia and grew up in South Carolina. For a time he studied art at the University of South Carolina, but primarily worked alone, with no outside influences until around 1958. He moved to New York City in 1952. Johns' first well known paintings were done in 1954-55, including his well-known flag and target paintings. Johns held his first solo exhibition in 1958 at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City. The show featured his paintings of flags, targets, numerals and alphabets. In addition to painting seemingly-mundane objects, Johns also produced sculptures such as beer cans cast in bronze. At a time when Abstract Expressionism was popular, Johns' paintings and sculptures of ordinary objects were thought-provoking. His use of heavy encaustic emphasized the fact that his works were paintings, thereby forcing audiences to question the relationship of subject to object.