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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 21st century: Untitled #21
Untitled #21

Untitled #21
James F. Dicke II
mixed media on canvas
40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Marsha Ralls
"The artwork I find interesting, and the art I try to make engages interest and tries to stop the viewer for a closer look. A certain element of ambiguity and beauty should address the senses. Is the image abstract or representational? Is it a view through a microscope or a view of space spanning millions of miles?" Artist's statement

James F. Dicke II finds inspiration for his art in nature, specifically images of galaxies produced by the Hubble Space Telescope. To create his paintings, he attaches the canvas to a potter's wheel and carefully pools drops of paint onto the surface. He then spins the canvas so that centrifugal force pulls the beads of paint outward from the center. In Untitled #21 the partially blended layers of saturated color streak away from the dark blue central shape, evoking light emerging from deep space.

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