October 3, 2015

Picasso Sculpture: Motifs

Touring the eleven galleries of MoMA's Picasso Sculpture, I started to note the spectrum of motifs that drove his artwork. So I drew them as in a sketchbook catalog survey.

In a recent blogpost on Sargent, I wrote about that particular artists' problem of being circumscribed by verisimilitude. In the Picasso Sculpture show, I had a similar thought, about how Picasso was circumscribed by his drive toward motif. While I find this drive fabulous, and in fact I desire it myself, one can't help but note that a huge chunk of his creative life bloomed in a era in which non-objective abstraction entered the stage of art history. Why didn't Picasso partake of verisimilitude-unbound as well? Cubism was a natural point of departure, but at its' zenith, he went multi-modal beginning with the generation of a mannered classicism.

But oh, what a range of motifs!

Visiting the Roy Lichtenstein show at Gagosian (24th Street Chelsea), I marveled at how Lichtenstein could range through a catalog of motifs himself, and what was facilitating for him was a characteristic signature method of drawing and rendering. Picasso too, engineered his characteristic signature style of drawing in the development of Cubism, and with it romped through a whole encyclopedia of visual themes like Pan strutting his stuff in his forest. Therefore, it's not enough to want to romp in motif-land. An artist needs a signature style to make that happen.

Posted by Dennis at October 3, 2015 9:30 PM

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