Saint Louis University

Derived from both public and private collections, this exhibition is organized by themes to highlight recurring concepts in Motherwell's works: Elegy series, Gesture series, Open series, Collages and Prints. While his medium and approaches vary, Motherwell's works reveal his experimentation with paint and reflect his creativity, curiosity and cultural commentary through the abstract. Such expressions offer a portal into a greater sort of truth, which Motherwell believed was often lost in the distinctive rendering of a form. Rejecting traditional art and its representations, he and his fellow Abstract Expressionists, including Jackson Pollack, Max Ernst and Andre Masson, among others, provided a pure and emotive response to reality with broad strokes against minimal background.

The abstract expressionism so eloquently represented by Motherwell, involved working with the paint and canvas in a decidedly spontaneous manner that rendered simple shapes and high contrast. At times, he juxtaposed horizontal with vertical lines or curve with solid to focus on contrast and thereby tease out cultural truths, which he believed were often obscured in more traditional styles Motherwell's strokes marked his deliberate effort to get at subconscious creation and see deep beneath the surface. His works offer a vitality and energy. In his collage pieces, he contrasts paper tearings on minimalist white canvas, to create a layering that suggests discord and draws his audience in for a deep look.

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