Lichtenstein is famous as being a key figure in the Pop Art movement, an artistic genre that rebelled against strict classic art forms by creating art that melded with popular culture.
Lichtenstein's pieces often have a cartoon like quality to them, and the Brushstrokes series is no different.
The Brushstrokes series depicts just that: brushstrokes on paper. Lichtenstein uses bold black lines to create the shape of the brushstrokes and then bright blocks of colour to evoke the paint that the brush was dipped in.
The backgrounds of many of these pieces are made up of a pattern of repeated dots of paint, which is one of the hallmarks of Lichtenstein's work. Seemingly 'accidental' splashes and splatters of paint from the brushstrokes have been drawn on to the page by Lichtenstein with painstaking care. As a result, we have an interesting tension between the accidental and the careful in this painting that rewards further study.
One very interesting thing about this series is the fact that Lichtenstein is depicting the strokes of the brush using the strokes of his own paint brush. Form and content, medium and referent, all relate to each other in this art work. Lichtenstein seems to be placing a magnifying glass onto the act of artistic creation itself and asking his viewer to take note of the minutiae of this act of creation - right down to the shape and form of the brushstrokes themselves.
This type of focus is symptomatic of the Pop Art genre as a whole. Artists who worked within this genre often tended to glorify or magnify seemingly everyday objects. For example, the US artist Andy Warhol created a Pop Art series that was simply made up of many labels from Campbell's soup cans.
When turned into artworks by Warhol, these everyday objects seemed to take on a deeper significance. As such, Warhol, Lichtenstein and many other Pop Artist help us to take notice of the world around us in more detail that we usually do.