Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Hibiscus in a Campbell's Soup Can, an homage to Andy Warhol

16 x 12", acrylic on mounted gessoed aluminium panel
painting #274, 2019

I first became aware of Andy Warhol's ''Flowers'' serigraph prints during the late 1980's when one of the many variations was featured predominately on the set of the CBS sitcom, Murphy Brown, starring Candice Bergan. 

After acquiring this Andy Warhol art book from the Taschen's Basic Art Series 2.0, I became curious about the backstory behind the image. Warhol would draw inspiration from a photograph of hibiscus flowers by Patricia Caulfield that appeared in a 1964 issue of Modern Photography. He was later sued in 1966 for the first time by the photographer for copyright infringement. Warhol was a very prolific artist. With the help of a few workers inside of "The Factory" (his studio), in one day, he could produce as many as 80 of these flowers silkscreens, printed in various sizes.  

L- photography of hibiscus by Patricia Caulfield
R- serigraph print of "Flowers" by Andy Warhol

For at least the past decade or so, we've been buying a hibiscus plant every spring for the veranda in front of our house. For the most part, the blooms only last one day or two, but it has several blooming cycles during the summer. This spring while stepping into our local Home Depot, they had a variety of dwarf hibiscus that is more of a potted flower than a potted plant. By the time I got back home, the concept for this painting came to me. I then acquired a Campbell's soup can on eBay from a US listing since here in Canada, the label was modernized more than a decade ago. I had initially intended to just do black background. Once it was done, the idea of using a modified version of Marilyn Monroe from Warhol's reversal series was introduced. I repeated the image as if it was wallpaper like Warhol did with Cows in 1966. 

This past July, after my wife Suzanne gave me the green light, I headed for Europe for three weeks to do some backpacking with our son Jean-Luc. This was his graduation gift for completing a bachelor's degree in business administration at the Université de Moncton. At the very beginning of the trip, we spent three days in Barcelona, Spain. As luck would have it, we were fortunate enough to view a serigraph print exhibition of Andy Warhol. The whole collection was owned by one individual, and was comprised mostly of many variations of Marilyn Monroe, Campbell's Soup Cans, Flowers and Mao Tse Tung. Click HERE for link. 

Painting to be shown this weekend at Art Toronto with Galerie de Bellefeuille (Booth A12)
Opening Night Gala: Thursday, October 24, 2019: 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Fair Hours: Friday, October 25, 2019: 12AM – 8:00PM
Saturday, October 26, 2019: 11:00AM – 8:00PM
Sunday, October 27, 2019: 11:00AM – 6:00PM
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building
255 Front Street West, Toronto