Collection 1940s–1970s

Rosalyn Drexler. Hold your Fire (Men and Machines). 1966 705

Acrylic and paper on canvas, 30 × 50" (76.2 × 127 cm). Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds, and acquired through the generosity of Daniel and Brett Sundheim and the Modern Women's Fund. © Rosalyn Drexler / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

Artist, Rosalyn Drexler: I'm Rosalyn Drexler.

“Hold your Fire” means, “Wait before you shoot,” “Wait before you kill.” “Hold your fire” is a very good thing, because once you don't hold your fire, it's all over.

This man at the machine, maybe he's waiting for a signal in order to get the machine going, and nothing will break into that concentration. We don't really know what the machine is, what it does. In fact, what he has in his hands on could destroy the world, one doesn't know. Will that order ever come? But he's ready to wait there, forever, in this emptiness, in this stillness. It's a mystery and that's part of the fun, you know. Something's going on, but we don't know what it is.

I cut images out of magazines and newspapers, posters, and pick a few things out, and move it around on paper and get an idea. You take it, and you've captured it. It's like some sort of a hunt, and then paint it to make sure that it will be covered and will always be safe and will always be there for you. Rescuing the image, working on it, changing it and making it mine.

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