Robert Rauschenberg ‘Transfer Drawings’ at Offer Waterman, London W1

I loved this show but these drawings illustrate how carefully the transfer technique has to be used. It’s just a method or a tool; you still have to know what you want to achieve and how to achieve it in terms of composition etc.


Rauschenberg transferred his images direct from their original source, such as newspapers or magazines, so sometimes you can spot that they are flipped, because of text or something else that just isn’t the right way round.

161220-robert-rauschenberg-transfer-drwgs-13-for-webHe used lighter fluid as the solvent and pressed with a pen to transfer the inked image. The ‘scribble’ effect this produces is like a kind of hatching: but is he drawing  or erasing?

I like the drawing effect in these works. Mostly, Rauschenberg didn’t work over them; sometimes he added a bit of colour, and some lines, but not so as to obscure the particular drawn quality of the transfers.

The images he uses are a mix of consumer advertising, what look like celebrity photos and political headlines and pictures. Some works are ‘all over’; some have a lot of empty space. I particularly like this one with the space in the centre.


Where he uses colour it is mostly a highlight, as here:

161220-robert-rauschenberg-transfer-drwgs-05-for-webbut one image is covered in a transparent orange glaze.


161220-robert-rauschenberg-transfer-drwgs-12-for-web 161220-robert-rauschenberg-transfer-drwgs-03-for-web 161220-robert-rauschenberg-transfer-drwgs-02-for-web 161220-robert-rauschenberg-transfer-drwgs-01-for-web