Robert Motherwell: The Drawings of a Painter

Katy Rogers at The Brooklyn Rail:

As I worked on this publication, I came to cherish Motherwell’s drawings more and more. Although they are the drawings of a painter, and drawing is not the medium he is principally known for, it is here, in his drawings, that we see his mind at work most clearly and most vividly. In his drawings, we can see the quintessence of depth and breadth of his work, from the abstracted figures of the 1940s to his purely automatist Lyric Suite (1965) and spare geometric “Open” series of the 1960s, to his luminous graphic responses to James Joyce during the 1980s. Although his drawings are related to—and sometimes provided the seeds for—his paintings, he revered drawing as a unique practice of its own, which had its own character and involved particular demands. For Motherwell, the medium was “the only thing in human existence that has precisely the same range of sensed feeling as people themselves do. And it is only when you think of the medium as having the same potential as another human being, that you begin to see the nature of the artist’s involvement.”

more here.