Visual Analysis- Pop Art

Title: Standard station 1966

Artist: Ed Ruscha 

Medium/ Technique: screenprint

Date accessed: 6/03/14

Reference: Thursday 6th March 2014

This piece is a pop art movement due to it’s visual representation and communication, an american dream of optimism and naive that was going on at the time. In this way the piece looks like it’s a petrol station with it’s bright and bold colours. Around the time of this piece there was an anti vietnam war protest going on around the world. With the piece he wanted to blend the imagery of Hollywood with colourful renderings of commercial culture and the landscape of the southwest. This is one of his most iconic prints as he repeatedly used gasoline stations in his book Twentysix Gasoline Stations 1963, from a road trip through the American Southwestern countryside; trying to portray commercial culture. The perspective is flatterned as a composition to depict commercial advertising and leads from the far right to the top left leading the eye across to the foreground with one long leading line. He also used text within the piece to give interplay between art and text. The colour in the background is complementary blues and oranges, but also blends from orange to red as an analogous colour scheme making it look calm, warm and harmonious. He’s used the geometric shapes of the gasoline station through the windows, signs and gasoline tanks. The piece seems a smooth texture and feathery in the background.The image leaves the top right half spacious and the bottom left is filled with the gasoline station and the shapes it creates. It’s the way it presents the popular culture within the image that makes it the style of pop art. 


Dada- Visual Analysis

Title: Untitled (Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance) (1917)

Artist: Jean (Hans) Arp

Untitled (Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance)

Dada was born from a group of avant-garde painters, poets and film makers who came to neutral switzerland before and during world war one. Jean made a series of collages based on chance. Meaning he would stand above a sheet of paper, dropping squares of contrasting colored paper on the surface of a larger sheet, then gluing the squares wherever they fell onto the page. The art could then provoke a deep inward feeling of reaction rather than an intellectual one- like fortune telling from I-Ching coins- which Arp was interested in. He began this technique when he became frustrated at his many attempts of trying to compose more formal geometric arrangements. These chance collages have come to represent dada’s aim to be ‘anti-art’. There aren’t any leading lines but more space within the image, around the geometric shapes. The texture looks smooth and the image looks like a flat plane. The image is build up with dark colours, including browns, blacks, greens, and yellows. 


De Stijl- Visual Analysis

Title: Counter Composition V (1924)

Artist: Theo van Doesburg

Counter Composition V

Around the time this was painted the first world war had ended and the second world war was about to begin and this movement ‘de stijl’ meaning ‘the style’ in dutch was a response to the terrors of world war 1; the movement was reacting against Art Deco. Art was viewing the world as a means of social and spiritual redemption. Usually Van Doesburg makes use of horizontal or vertical lines but in this piece he depicts diagonal lines; using Elementarism. Elementarism is described as “based on the neutralization of positive and negative directions by the diagonal and, as far as color is concerned, by the dissonant. Equilibrated relations are not an ultimate result.” His title infers the 45 degree angle the lines are at to the sides of the picture rather than parallel to them; giving a new relationship between composition and format of the canvas. He goes beyond the three primary colours this includes a triangle of grey, the primary colours and black and white- line and colour interact with each other within the movement and this gives one of the characteristics of de stijl. As de stijl was finding itself; paintings, furniture designs and buildings, how the works appearance looks is just as important as its function. The shapes of the piece are geometric facing diagonally, including diamonds and rectangles, with the texture looking smooth.


Visual Elements

Different art elements and what they mean:


actual or implied lines within the composition.

  • Horizontal lines- calming
  • Vertical lines- power & strength
  • Diagonal lines- tend to be visually dynamic- suggesting movement, ‘visual tention’ and/ or excitement.
  • Curved lines- suggest organic (living/breathing things)
  • Converging lines- lines that join together (geometric)


hues with their values, intensity and saturation.

  • Primary- red, blue, yellow
  • Secondary- green, orange, purple
  • Tertiary- in between primary and secondary colours
  •  Analogous- colours next to each other- correspond or are similar in some way; creates peace, restfulness or harmony. 

Shape- areas defined by their edges within the piece.

Form- the 3-D quality of an object or shape- it’s length, width and depth.

Tone- describes the darkness or lightness of a particular area in an image; shading from light to dark tone is often used to emphasize the form (an object’s 3D quality)

Space- the space taken up by objects or the space in-between objects (sometimes called negative space)

Texture surface qualities of the artwork.