While you’re likely familiar with ’s
large, gestural paintings, you might not be aware of the importance of prints to the
master’s practice. After falling into a rut in 1965, (sparked by his disappointment in a retrospective of his work at MoMA
), the artist took up printmaking and made Automatism B
soon after. The work’s title refers to the
, or the act of spontaneous drawing led by the unconscious, which Motherwell introduced to his Abstract Expressionist cohort in the 1950s. The rapid, expressive gestures that zip across this composition would go on to inform the sense of rhythm and buoyancy that defines Motherwell’s paintings from the ’60s and ’70s.