ROBERT MOTHERWELL “OY/YO”, 1978
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), alongside Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, made up the quartet of American artists that radically defined abstraction and established New York City as the center of the post-war art world.
Motherwell was also the unofficial spokesman of the New York School, writing, teaching, and lecturing on behalf of abstract expressionism, his fellow artists, and the merits of abstraction.
Today, his work appears in museum collections around the world and is instantly recognizable for its boldness and black forms. Yet in addition to his impressive paintings, Motherwell is also revered as a printmaker. He is one of the most innovative and prolific printmakers of the 20th century. He was always searching for new techniques, whether at his own printmaking atelier, or collaborating with others, to expand his ideas and express his aesthetic.
‘Oy/Yo’ is classic Motherwell; an imposing black form, that resembles a thick brushstroke, is set against a dense field of color. Neutral colors, such as this rich ochre background and the sand colored paper, are frequently used by Motherwell to amplify the black shapes and strokes in his compositions.
Text makes frequent appearances in Motherwell's prints, especially during the 1970's. Contrary to works were Motherwell includes fragments of maps, cigarette packages and wine labels, here the faint, red text on the central black form, that says “Oy/Yo” was hand-scratched on to the plate. The addition of text is a unique anomaly, a noticeable departure from Motherwell’s typical inclusion of words or sayings.
It is worth noting, that nearly 30 years later, Deborah Kass would have great success exploring the amusing word duo that is Oy / Yo.
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Aquatint with etching and collage in colors on BFK Rives paper
Signed and numbered by artist
From an edition of 78
26.75”H 22.25”W (work)
29"H 24.5"W (framed)
Framed with plexiglass
Very good condition.
Note: a reflection in the image is causing a distortion of the color in the lower third of the image.
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