Monday, June 2, 2014

The Genius of Robert Motherwell

I watched this DVD twice within 24 hours. If I could channel Motherwell, I would. I wish he were still on this planet. 

This documentary is a deliberate, focused and thoughtful  look at the birth of Abstract Expressionism in America. A coalescence of the Abstract and the Modernist movements. A struggle to create an artistic language that sang with truth, authenticity and integrity. 

And the work, well the work, took my breath away. To watch Motherwell  run his brush across the surface of the paper was lyrical, to watch him sit and stare at his work, seeing the internal dialogue spoken by the small shifts in his body language, was mesmerizing, seeing him tear shapes to integrate collage pieces into his work was fun! The feel and sound of paper being separated from itself felt so right.  

Automatism - free association drawing, the idea of peeling away the layers of conscious prejudice to get to the essence of your authentic, creativeness is freeing. Thank goodness the surrealists and expressionists embraced it and brought it to the conscious surface, so we, the followers, can add this weapon, this tool to our arsenal.  

To have your very soul captured on to the canvas, revealed in it's spiritual purity. And then, when someone recognizes the poetic humanity wow, you've made a cosmic connection. 

I believe that's what we, as artists, strive for; this illusive thing that has no name and yet when we encounter it, we feel it. We don't even see it, we feel it down to our Mitochondrial DNA. 

Towards the end of the documentary Motherwell quietly asks, " What is the journey? The search? Not only a search for beauty or artfulness, but an attitude toward reality. The process of painting is the search and it, in some ways, involves a high degree of abstraction and at the same time, with the insistence that the subject, which in a way is unnameable, nevertheless is very humanly poetic."

Disappearing Mark # 2