Untitled [Blue Man on Red Object]

Bill Traylor1939/1939

High Museum of Art

High Museum of Art

Economy of expression distinguishes the drawings Bill Traylor created on the streets of Montgomery, Alabama, during the final years of the Great Depression. A retired field hand in his eighties when he began drawing, Traylor called up on discarded cardboard the essence of things seen or remembered. While the radically simplified forms of Traylor’s drawings seem familiar to viewers accustomed to the reductive tendencies of modernism, the witty vitality of his vision is striking. Nowhere is the ebullience of Traylor’s work more apparent than in his multi-figure compositions, wherein negative space is fragmented by the angles of outthrust legs and arms.

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