Television or the Cat’s Cradle Supports Electronic Picture, 1988 - 1989

Basel 2018
Edward Tyler Nahem
Acrylic on canvas
610.0 x 160.0 (cm)
240.2 x 63.0 (inch)
Television or the Cat’s Cradle Supports Electronic Picture by James Rosenquist is a richly painted canvas interlacing figure, flora, and celestial imagery. The painting captures the vitality of Rosenquist’s late 1980s and early 1990s work, and expands on his explorations of light, space, and relativity. The three overlays of imagery float through the velvety black galaxy dotted with stars and supernovas; there are fragments of a woman’s face, an eye chart, and two enormous, purple passion flowers. A quiet commentary on the ecological and political, the work addresses life on earth and the choices made by humankind. Influenced by the vibrant flora around his studio in Florida, the passion flowers convey his respect for nature, its overwhelming power, and its inherent beauty. The flowers reflect the concerns of the Water Planet series of the late 1980s, which is both a celebration of natural plant forms and a prescriptive elegy to the desecration of the Earth’s natural habitats. The sheer physical scale of this painting envelops viewers and places them within a panoramic space that incorporates themes that are consistent with Rosenquist’s oeuvre.