Warhol is famously known for some of his silk-screened portraits such as Marilyn Monroe and Elisabeth Taylor. Warhol had a fascination with pop culture and experimentation on the idea of what art is.
“I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough it loses all of its meaning.” Warhol
It does not glorify or highlight a part unique to society, but creates a Pop Art translation on the subject of shadows.
“Shadows” is a unique presentation of Warhol’s work because it is different than his soup can paintings or portraits of celebrities but a depiction of an everyday phenomenon such as shadows.
Although the image becomes monotonous, it is unmistakably done on purpose, as Warhol is brainwashing his audience to look again at his work. As Warhol sarcastically described this work as “disco décor.” The paintings have become a source of entertainment for visitors as a perfect backdrop, for photographs. What was once described as “disco décor” can now be updated as “photo shoot backdrop.” Warhol in fact would be fascinated now to see his works still fitting into mainstream society and culture. Warhol’s paintings were depicting the world around him with the music, culture and life of New York City at the time.
Photography was now well being used in society and widely accepted as a form of art. It could easily be mass produced, and Warhol’s manipulation of the images created a new genre of photography and fine art. “Shadows” canvases are silk screened with some of the canvases include painting. The painted layer adds dimension and life to the repeated silk-screened image. In many cases you can see the brush strokes and lines from the bristles from the paintbrush. A unique element with many of his works were printed or painted in a realistic manner where brushstrokes are not seen.
Warhol grew up in Connecticut but his artistic career is famously known in Soho in New York City in what he called his studio The Factory. He studied Pictorial Design and moved to New York to pursue a career in commercial illustration. His works ring to his commercial illustration, but in a satirical voice and attitude. His works vary from prints, drawings, silkscreened canvases, film and writing. Warhol had a knack to depict cultural icons and everyday images. “Shadows” is an example of his extensive use of repetition to convey an idea or aesthetic imagery. “Shadows” came after Warhol’s experimentation with abstraction in some of his other works such as Oxidation, Rorschach, and Camouflage paintings. Warhol wanted to be entertained and wanted to entertain others. His works reflect his attitude of American pop culture and his fascination with playing with people’s minds.
Maybe what Warhol was really saying was that visuals or for the case of Warhol his artwork, the subject matter did not really matter. What is now the focus is the repetition over and over, just as described like a song. So as Warhol feared, to look at a thing long enough it loses all of its meaning” he was able to champion into a revolutionary art style, setting modern art on a new playing field. Warhol is able to reassign your initial meaning or value what you once perceived it to be at first. So what first seemed like a photographic scene, repeated multiple times it now just becomes tones of color, light and shadow. Jokes on us Warhol, you really were able to be the master entertainer, manipulator, even if you painted soup cans and detergent boxes.