‘Usuyuki, in its vertical and horizontal forms, is by far the most intricate composition using the crosshatch motif. The tender colors, fading like the ‘light snow’ of the name (the tragic heroine of an eighteenth century drama for puppets adapted for the Kabuki theatre), are merely the powder and paint (or make-up) of the superficial appearance of one of Johns’ most involved statements. Both compositions were done in silkscreen and lithography, the horizontal version worked out first in lithography in 1979. The silkscreens have newspaper bits and the patterns reverse the order of the lithographs.
The vertical Usuyuki compositions might be used as the key to the larger, horizontal works. In the vertical prints, the crosshatches match at both sides as well as top and bottom, as if a rectangle had been formed from a cut-open inner tube. A grid of lines accompanied by imprints of objects is superimposed on the crosshatches. The horizontal Usuyuki prints are divided into three panels: the crosshatch pattern of the right-hand panel is identical to that of the lower three-fifths of the vertical print; the center panel repeats the center three-fifths of the vertical composition but rotates to the right one third of its width; the left hand panel repeats the top three-fifths of the vertical print and rotates an additional third. In this more complex situation, the spectrum-painted grid and imprints progress in a manner similar to the pattern of crosshatches throughout the three panels but in the opposite directions – that is, down and rotating to the left. The abundance of disorientating and guiding devices engages the viewer in a process of mental gymnastics not normally so deliberate in the perception of art…’
Riva Castleman, Jasper Johns – A Print Retrospective, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1986, pp. 42-43.