Untitled (Something that Ain’t Been Born Yet)
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Nellie Mae Rowe, American, 1900–1982
Crayon and pencil on ledger paper
14 x 9 inches
Gift of Judith Alexander
(c) Estate of Nellie Mae Rowe/High Museum of Art, Atlanta
For inspiration, Rowe tapped into her subconscious in ways that the Surrealists had given credence to decades earlier, copying visions as she remembered them from her dreams and engaging in automatic drawing. As she described it, “I may make a start with a straight mark, and it will come to me what I want to make.” The way she followed her line into mysterious forms, testing whether they could become a tree, an animal, an elaborately dressed person, can be seen clearly in these two works, one an early experiment and the other a dramatically more detailed—but no less fluid—composition.