What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of."
I really like this painting - is there any special inspiration behind the subject?
This work is part of a whole series of night scenes painted by the artist of things she saw out the window of her Times Square painting studio.
That's interesting, thanks!
Tell me about this!
The artist, Jane Dickson, belonged to a generation of artists working in Manhattan's cheaper (and often more dangerous) neighborhoods in the 1980s. Her subject matter includes the sensory overload of city life and the un-beautiful edges and corners of America's urban and suburban environments. This was painted as a view out of the window of her Manhattan studio.
Jane Dickson has said of her work: "A wary observer of necessity, I paint to locate baseline reality within an unstable world. Child of immigrants, I have enlisted painting in my life-long study of American-ness to examine its cultural pivot points, shifting parameters and anomalies."
I am wondering about Jane Dicksons biography and what kind of art she typically makes.
Dickson was born in Chicago and got her BFA from Harvard. She moved to NYC in her 20s where she worked designing computer animation for NYC billboards. She debuted her first paintings in the 1980s and they featured depictions of strippers, grasping couples on the sidewalk and crime suspects getting frisked against police cars.
She frequently works with unusual surfaces such as Astroturf, sandpaper, vinyl, or carpet to exploit the implicit references and the textural possibilities these materials offer. What else would you like to know?
I think we're good. That's super helpful, thank you.
You're welcome! Let us know if you have more questions.