As a pop artist, Andy Warhol is one of the most successful commercial illustrators by any standards. Andy Warhol did different types of artwork including music, film, and painting. Pop art became famous in Andy’s time when he screen-printed images of soup cans, newspaper stories, Marilyn Monroe among other popular artists (Fallon, 2010). Therefore, his works have a lot to offer to modern day artists, especially in doing artistic analysis of different artworks. This paper seeks to analyze Warhol’s Death and Disaster series regarding color scheme, contrast, scale, and proportion. The image of the electric chair has been selected for analysis.
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One of the most iconic works in the series is the Electric Chair. Andy Warhol came up with this picture in the early 1960’s when the issue of the death penalty was a contentious issue. In this painting, Andy tries to show a gruesome chair used to carry out the execution by responsible authorities. The color scheme in this image is perfect in the sense that it creates the terrible effect of the execution chamber. This color scheme is widely used in creating operant unpleasant scenarios not only in painting, but also in horror movies. He combines brown and yellow, which are cool colors, and warm colors respectively to depict a rugged setting that looks old and unfriendly. This is a basic color scheme, which is known to use only two colors that are appealing to a viewer (Christopher, 2006). The brightness of these colors pulls the attention of the viewer to the chair. The warmth of the colors depicts the electric chair as a fair and friendly means of executing justice to criminals. This color seeks to embrace the supporters of the death penalty. On the contrary, the main item in the picture, the electric chair, brings out the reality that this chair is for killing. The opponents of the death penalty view this chair as a means to cause death. In addition, the luminous property of color is used to show that some light is coming from overhead further describing the stillness of the room.
Proportion can also be said to be properly observed because the chair is almost centered, meaning that the proportion is balanced or respects the rule of symmetry. Similarly, the painting is well matched with its surrounding in terms of proportionality. This can be identified by looking at the size of the room presented as an execution chamber and comparing it to the size of the chair. The both are in a complete agreement of how a room is expected to be in terms of size relatively to the size of the chair. In this regard, the image is successful in relaying the accurate message as intended.
The picture of Andy Warhol, Electric Chair, captures the imagination of a viewer easily because of its presentational features. The author uses that character of loneliness to create a desperate feeling and, at the same time, associate his painting with the main theme - death. During this time, there were many controversies surrounding the issue of capital punishments (Malanga & Halley, 2002). Some people were vehemently opposing it while others were in full support of the same. Therefore, Andy was able to observe these arguments and present situation of the death penalty in the form of painting. This means that he could have been against the idea of the death penalty since he represents the scenario in a negative manner. This can also be stressed by the presence of something that looks like a rope or a wire besides that chair. This implies that the chair is connected to an electricity source of electrocuting victims of the death penalty. The presence of the cord sends chills of fear to the viewer. Andy’s painting delivers the final message of the chair, which is death, and certainly evokes resentment in the opponents of the death penalty.
The painting explicitly illustrates the feeling of loneliness and despair. This is represented by the vastness of the room as it is observed from the wall boundaries and a single chair in the room. It is successfully depicted by using some variations such as cropping the image thus bringing the electric chair on the foreground. He gives clear details such as an electric cable and a tool of compulsory death. Besides, the painting shows little or no likelihood of anybody else’s presence in the room except a death convict. This evokes emotions in viewer hence making them think of what violence is all about especially by the authorities. A call up message is relayed in this way. Therefore, the effect on the viewer is positive since it elicits an emotional feeling and, at the same time, tells people the reasons they should be for or against the punishment.
In conclusion, this piece of art of Andy Warhol is of irreproachable art qualities including such elements as color and proportion. Similarly, the painting can be said to create a significant impact on viewers simply because it is emotional and provoking actions. The theme of death and the need to protest can also be identified from the painting since the painting was done when the death penalty was a controversial issue.
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