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Maker(s):Roy, John
Culture:American (1930-2001)
Date Made:1966
Materials:charcoal, pastel and watercolor
Measurements:overall: 19 in x 25 in; 48.26 cm x 63.5 cm
Accession Number:  UM 1967.48
Credit Line:Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Rigel Haupt
Museum Collection:  University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

Label Text:
2006 Curatorial Fellowship Exhibition: Word and Image
In r-ESTAU-rant (1966), John Roy fragments familiar, easily recognizable text to suggest new meaning, a technique pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in their Synthetic Cubist collages. In these revolutionary works, the Cubists often features sections of the newspaper masthead, Le Journal, fragmented to “Le Jou,” the French word for play. In his view of a restaurant’s front window, Roy presents three distinct fields of vision. Inside the restaurant, individual diners sit at tables. The restaurant’s plate glass window reflects passersby. The window, painted with a bold, yellow “ESTAU,” creates a middle ground and stabilizes the composition. Although clearly part of the larger word, “restaurant,” the text serves a greater purpose than identifying the scene. A conjugated form of the verb “to be” in romance languages, the fragmented “ESTAU” leads one to contemplate the essence of being. Considered within the context of the solitary human figures, many of them faceless and none of them interacting, the image becomes a comment on the nature of human existence. Echoing the Cubists’ spirited fracturing of language, this wordplay transforms the text from a clear sign to a more multifaceted, open-ended, abstract idea.
Lisa Amato

interiors; figures; restaurants; furniture; tables; text

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