May 26 – September 10, 2023
Jack Tworkov American (1900-1982), Bar Decoration I, 1963-64. Oil on canvas, 51 x 73 inches. VBMA, Museum Purchase with funds provided by the Athena Society, 2014.4
In a career that played out over seven decades, two phases become clear in the work of Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) that emphasizes the artist’s progressive, conceptual, and humanist approach.
The first phase dates from the late 1940’s through the mid 1960’s and confirms Tworkov as one of the giants of the first generation of Abstract Expressionism—where emotion and his embrace of a distinct gestural mark were paramount. Drawing at this time was a method Tworkov used to “strike out in wildly different directions” so he could then go to the canvas without any preconceived plan.
The second phase, often argued into silence, dates from mid-1960’s to 1980’s, and links him to the new dialogue of minimalism. In these drawing, which take a cooler more measured approach, geometry may appear to be paramount as a bold element of the composition, but it is the measured repetitive rhythmic stroke that carries the day. In many instances, drawing was the planning stage for the painting. Tworkov’s aim was to arrive at a style in which a plan did not exclude intuitive and sometimes “random play.”
For this creative shift, Tworkov was celebrated as a Radical Pro by Art News in April 1964, and yet it was only emblematic of his emphatic desire never to repeat himself, to “paint no Tworkovs.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication.
This exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Estate of Jack Tworkov and Van Doren Waxter, New York, and was made possible with support of The Yela “Peter” and Derek Fowler Endowment for Acquisitions and Exhibitions.