Tom Wesselmann, Scribble Version of a Still Life #58, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.

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Tom Wesselmann (1931–2004) was a leading exponent of American Pop art who explored the classical genres of the nude, still life, and landscape, updated to include contemporaneous everyday objects and advertising ephemera. Known for iconic works such as Portrait Collage #1 (1959), the Great American Nude series (1961–73), Bedroom Paintings (1968–83), and the Standing Still Life paintings, Wesselmann created inventive new forms for painting, often working with cutout and shaped canvases. Gagosian’s new exhibit, Tom Wesselmann: Flowers comprises a series of metal cutouts, including works in the still-life genre such as Mixed Bouquet (Filled In) (1993) and Still Life with Four Roses and Pear (1993), which depict flowers in particular. Wesselmann’s outlines were cut by laser from a sheet of metal, then painted in bright colors, creating a hybrid form of the innovative shaped canvases with which he worked, whereby the supports of his paintings were tailored to the actual shapes of the subjects depicted. Between the colored lines of Wesselmann’s cutout compositions, the white walls of the gallery serve as negative space within the image. In keeping with his multifaceted approach to painting, the metal cutouts blur the distinction between drawn line, painted field, and sculpture.