While on a Fulbright fellowship in Rome in the late 1950s, Bontecou accidentally made what became one of the most crucial discoveries of her career: she adjusted the oxygen levels in the blowtorch she used to weld sculptures, and soot poured out. She began to draw with the torch, moving it across paper and canvas. “I finally got the black I wanted and a kind of landscape or ‘worldscape,’” she said. While her works rarely suggest concrete locations, the sense of landscape is palpable here in the low-slung pale-gray line that sweeps across the velvety black page, suggesting a dimly lit horizon.
Gallery label from Lee Bontecou: All Freedom in Every Sense, April 21–August 30, 2010 .