Jim Dine b.Cincinnati 1935-
Jim Dine’s art education began during his final year at high school with evening classes at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1953. He went on to attend the University of Cincinnati and briefly the Boston Museum School before graduating from Ohio University in 1957.
His first one-man show was held in 1960 at the Reuben Gallery in New York during which he presented the Happening Car Crash.
Happenings had evolved from the theatrical elements of Dada and Surrealism and played an important role in the development of Pop Art in America with artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Robert Rauschenburg participating.
Certain recurring themes occur in Jim Dine’s work. During 1962 tools first appeared. Not only did these recall a childhood spent working in his father’s hardware store but they also represent an extension of the hand, especially the artist’s, when it comes to brushes and palettes, the tools of his trade.
The robe self-portraits began in 1964 when he saw an advertisement for a bathrobe with the man’s features airbrushed out which enabled a potential buyer to imagine himself wearing the garment. Ever since they have become a means of expressing the various facets of his character.
The stylised Valentine’s heart is to Jim Dine as LOVE is to Robert Indiana or Campbell’s Soup cans are to Andy Warhol. It has been produced in infinite variations. For an artist associated with the Pop movement it is useful to have strong visual branding, so much the better if it is an obvious symbol of affection.
However, he has rarely used the techniques of mass production associated with Pop such as screenprint favouring instead to stick to the traditional media of etching and woodcuts.
Although the above mentioned themes are most readily associated with Jim Dine it would be a mistake to imagine that he has not broadened his subject matter during the past two decades. Classical sculpture, particularly Venus de Milo, portraits of his wife Nancy, images from nature including flowers, plants and trees, to name but a few, feature in this artist’s oeuvre.