Comments on: Robert Motherwell: Early Collages http://abstractcritical.com/note/robert-motherwell-early-collages-2/ Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/note/robert-motherwell-early-collages-2/#comment-375262 Fri, 17 Jan 2014 15:02:14 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7793#comment-375262 If you say so.

One might more sensibly argue that Tony Caro used a kind of 3D “collage” to put together some of his openly-constructed and lightly pieced-together works, but these rarely encompass full-on three-dimensionality, arranged as they often are on the basis of a frontal pictorialism. Even the best Caros are built upon a planar – not to say architectural – kind of spatial structure; Smith’s Cubi sculptures even more so, being almost always (and very intentionally) arrangements on a single plane (with a few inflections thrown in); the fact that they are solid boxes makes no difference. Your anecdote about cigar boxes many will find charming, but I can only see it as yet another impoverished way to think about sculpture.

Smith’s small early sculptures are the best of his work.

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By: John Scofield http://abstractcritical.com/note/robert-motherwell-early-collages-2/#comment-374642 Thu, 16 Jan 2014 18:42:37 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7793#comment-374642 @ Robin Greenwood: Re collage and 3 dimensions, I was with Motherwell at Smith’s studio in 1975; the first time he had been back there since Smith’s death in ’65. RM was very emotional; upset. Said that Smith used to arrange Dunhill cigar boxes on the studio floor as maquettes for the Cubis. That sounds like collage going 3-D to me…
http://johneverettscofield.blogspot.com/

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/note/robert-motherwell-early-collages-2/#comment-364985 Wed, 08 Jan 2014 20:11:41 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7793#comment-364985 “I discern Motherwell’s influence in Smith’s ‘Agricola’ series. They would have been started flat on the floor or bench before being welded and lifted upright. Later there are photographs of Smith arranging steel scrap on the studio floor, kicking it around, sometimes within a white painted rectangle, then hauled up to continue the work. Like Motherwell’s torn paper shapes, Smith shows that abstract sculpture can be begun with pieces and shapes that congeal together as though they had fallen out of a tipper truck.”

Bad logic. Bad idea. Motherwell’s (or anybody’s) collage has nothing to do with three-dimensionality and does not demonstrate anything affirmative about sculpture-making. If they influenced Smith, it was undoubtedly to the detriment of the latter’s work. Great bloke though he (and Motherwell) was, Smith’s habit of welding stuff together on the floor and then standing it up is not a particularly good way to even start making something three-dimensional, never mind sticking with whatever came out that way. The two-dimensionality of rather too much of Smith’s work needs to be recognised as a serious shortcoming.

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By: Matt Dennis http://abstractcritical.com/note/robert-motherwell-early-collages-2/#comment-362508 Mon, 06 Jan 2014 22:13:33 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7793#comment-362508 David-
“Monochrome expanses or slightly variegated colour brushed on large canvases are enervated by simple drawing in charcoal or black oil pastel…”
You might want to check the dictionary definition of “enervated”- because, given the thrust of your article, I think you mean “energised”?

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By: Phyllis Tuchman http://abstractcritical.com/note/robert-motherwell-early-collages-2/#comment-362104 Mon, 06 Jan 2014 14:04:38 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7793#comment-362104 Repainted, not reprinted as my iPad just insisted on respelling again.

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By: Phyllis Tuchman http://abstractcritical.com/note/robert-motherwell-early-collages-2/#comment-362101 Mon, 06 Jan 2014 14:02:48 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7793#comment-362101 I saw the show twice last week, and several other times since the press preview. I am curating an exhibition of Motherwell’s paintings from the forties, opening Guild Hall in East Hamoton next August.RM constantly reprinted his work. The nature of collage let young artist move his parts around until the moment he decided to paste these elements. Not spontaneous. Jut look that way.

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