Robert Motherwell: Portfolios and Related Drawings and Paintings

May 5 – June 10, 2006

Robert Motherwell

Untitled (Ochre Open), 1972

Acrylic on Upson Board

23 3/4 x 9 5/8 inches

Robert Motherwell

Octavio Paz Suite: Spanish Elegy, 1988

Lithograph and chine applique

22 7/8 x 28 inches

© 2006 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. Licensed by Vaga, New York. Robert Motherwell, Untitled (from the Joyce Sketchbook). 1985. Ink and China Marker on Paper. 3 x 5 inches.

Press Release

William Shearburn Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of the works of Robert Motherwell, opening on May 5 and continuing through June 10, 2006. On view will be numerous portfolios and related drawings and paintings that when taken in as a whole represent a survey of Motherwell’s artistic legacy.

Motherwell, who died in 1991, holds a unique place in art history. His voracious studies of philosophy, politics and poetry allowed him to relate to both the post-war European exiled artists living in New York as well as the yet to be formed group of artists who would later be known as the Abstract Expressionists. Based on burgeoning psychoanalytical theories as well as the notions of automatic expression--in prose or text, in music and in the process of creating an image--Motherwell’s work eloquently incorporates elements of subconscious, transcendental abstract marks with contemplative and symbolic forms.

An avid printmaker, working in the medium as one approaches a sketchbook, Motherwell realized and utilized the possibilities of repetition of colors and forms. The continual return to his self-created iconographic elements created an intensely intimate relationship between the artist and his work. As Motherwell’s work began to gain in recognition, so too did his lexicon of images, forms and colors allowing the viewer to partake in the work’s meaning and the artist’s relation to it. Now revered as one of the most influential artists of the post-war era, Motherwell’s images have been solidified within the cannons of abstract expression.