Robert Motherwell | Inspire Me Monday

McKenna Woolleyart

“It’s not that the creative act and the critical act are simultaneous, it’s more like you blurt something out and then analyze it.” -Robert Motherwell

Abstract Expressionist, Robert Motherwell, exudes the creative process in all aspects of his art. He was the youngest of the group ‘The New York School’ which included artists like Jackson Pollock, and famous color field painter Mark Rothko. His approach to painting and collaging was incredibly expressive, much like the art of Van Gough, he found his own personal symbolism in the colors he chose to use in each piece.

The Abstract Expressionist movement was focused on spontaneous, automatic and subconscious creation of a work. Motherwell would focus on the art fundamentals of color, line, and shape. He was sensitive to each mark he was making despite what may appear to be child’s craft, the spontaneous mark making was often analyzed and edited until there appeared to him a sense of ‘rightness’ to the work.

I’m currently working on applying this approach to a collage study for my drawing class. I’m finding this technique to be exhilarating and more challenging than one would think. There is a common misconception that this type of art is something a child could make, though true that there is a lack of obvious subject matter and it may appear child-like, there is a deliberate approach as well as a subconscious form of expression. There is a fair amount of allowing your application of paint or placement of a collage piece to to be as they are, and yet much of the completion of a work requires a lot of conscious effort. If one puts too much into it, it can appear gimmicky and overdone. The challenge is to find a balance and see how just a small gesture can effect the overall feeling of a work.