Robert Motherwell...destabilizing collages

Two exhibitions focusing on Robert Motherwell's collages are up this summer. Robert Motherwell: Collage (London) at The Bernard Jacobson Gallery and Robert Motherwell: Early Collages will be presented at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Sam Cornish reviews the London exhibition for Abstract Critical and writes
Motherwell very self-consciously (in a couple of works too self-consciously for my taste) looks back to the papier collĂ© Picasso and Braque first made a little over a century ago. [1] Though it can open up with a hazy light, Picasso and Braque’s Cubism remains an intimate art of enclosed spaces; Braque understood his collages as visual translations of the availability of objects to touch. Motherwell enlarges this space, makes it more expansive, aerated, shifts its focus from ground to sky. In part he did this by drawing on Matisse. Motherwell empties out and destabilises Matisse’s architecture, using its restraint but imbuing it with a sense of motion (are some of these works non-gestural action paintings?) and a personality at once elegant, vulnerable and defiant.

Robert Motherwell, View from a High Tower, 1944–45. Tempera, oil, ink, pastel, and pasted wood veneer, drawing papers, Japanese papers, and printed map on paperboard, 74.3 x 74.3 cm. P


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