The 67th Robert Motherwell's Lithographs: 28th Exhibition of Prints from the Tyler Graphics Archive Collection
September 19, 2015 - December 23, 2015
Starting in the mid-1940s abstract expressionism took the art world by storm, with New York taking a position center stage in the postwar art scene. Contributing in no small way to the movement's forward momentum was Robert Motherwell (1915-1991). In addition to being an artist himself, Motherwell was active as a core theorist of abstract expressionism, drawing on his rich experience as an art historian and his studies in Europe.
Motherwell is also renowned as an artist who, with great passion, directed his talents into the creation of prints. Unlike so many followers of abstract expressionism who showed little interest in printmaking because of this medium's size constraints and complex processes that made it difficult to achieve the outsize works they aspired to and hindered intuitive creativity itself, Motherwell eagerly probed the possibilities of the print medium. From the 1960s, when he first became involved in printmaking in earnest, until his death in 1991 he created some 450 prints in all.
Among the various options offered in printmaking, Motherwell most often worked with lithography. His lithographs are recognizable by their bold brushed depictions of forms seemingly stirred instantaneously from the depths of his innermost emotions. He favored lithography for two reasons. First, with lithography he was able to create images similar to those he could draw freely with a brush. Second, Motherwell also relied heavily on the use of collage as his language of expression, and lithography was ideal for him in that it enabled, by photomechanical processing, the exact reproduction of a collage as a print. Motherwell's lithographs, which seal for eternity his thoughts, emotions and physical movements of the moment when he stood face-to-face with the lithographic stone before him, captivate us as sublime expressions of the artist's lofty spirituality.
This exhibition, timed to commemorate the centennial anniversary of his birth, will introduce the works, especially lithographs, Motherwell created for Tyler Graphics, the main focus of his printmaking activities from the mid-1970s through his later years. Through this array of prints embodying the supreme results of his diverse forays into printmaking, we hope visitors will come to appreciate the indelible appeal of the unique world of Robert Motherwell's artistry.