Sam Cornish reviews the exhibition Robert Motherwell: Collage is on at Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, on view through July 27, 2013.
Cornish writes: "Motherwell very self-consciously (in a couple of works too self-consciously for my taste) looks back to the papier collé Picasso and Braque first made a little over a century ago. Though it can open up with a hazy light, Picasso and Braque’s Cubism remains an intimate art of enclosed spaces; Braque understood his collages as visual translations of the availability of objects to touch. Motherwell enlarges this space, makes it more expansive, aerated, shifts its focus from ground to sky. In part he did this by drawing on Matisse. Motherwell empties out and destabilises Matisse’s architecture, using its restraint but imbuing it with a sense of motion (are some of these works non-gestural action paintings?) and a personality at once elegant, vulnerable and defiant."