In the early 1960s, Jim Dine’s painting and drawing practice sought to elevate everyday objects and spaces. In Four Rooms, the artist pushed this concept to its radical extreme, transforming the mundane reality of a living environment into a four-panel work of art that breaks free from conventional pictorial space. Each of the canvases evokes the atmosphere of a different room, delineated by four varying paint treatments and – in the case of two of the panels – the inclusion of common furniture and fixtures. An armchair, painted black by the artist, sits in front of the first panel. Dine plays with the viewer’s sense of perspective here by including a schematic of the chair on the canvas backdrop. The two central, expressionistic panels both nod to and deny the 'sublime' of gestural abstraction by way of the work’s overall concern with interiors – domestic and psychological. In the fourth panel, Dine uses illusionist space to compose a disorienting bathroom. In this final room, a shower fixture and curtain rod are installed on a canvas painted with a cartoonish representation of water spraying from the showerhead. Like Dine's other work from this period, Four Rooms reveals his expanded notion of the picture plane and imaginative use of everyday objects to interrogate and express the complexities of the psyche.
Jim Dine (born 1935 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is a postwar artist who has contributed significantly to the development of various artistic mediums and movements over six decades, including Pop, Neo-Dada, and performance art. Since having his New York debut via the 'Happenings' of the early 1960s, Dine has created a vast and influential oeuvre comprised of painting, assemblage, sculpture, drawings, prints, and poetry. He lives and works in Paris and Walla Walla, Washington.