Works on paper
Tworkov created works on paper as a complement to his painting practice in diverse ways throughout his career. He first became interested in draftsmanship when he took a mechanical drawing class as a student at Stuyvesant High School, prompted by his teacher to enroll in an evening drawing class in 1919. As Tworkov explained, “Drawing was always important to me. I always had the highest opinion of drawing because of what you can do with the simplest possible medium. To reduce everything to a piece of paper and pencil I think is just marvelous; it is one of the highest forms of art.”
From 1942-45 Tworkov applied his skill as a draftsman to work as a tool designer for an engineering and defense company to aid the World War II effort. During these years, he experimented with automatism, a style of drawing derived from the unconscious. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, he used his drawings as preparatory sketches for paintings, and often experimented with new concepts and methods of application in his works on paper.
As Tworkov gradually turned away from what he perceived as the enforced spontaneity of his 1950s work, he applied his interest in organizational and mathematical principles to his works on paper. The evenness of mark-making possible in a drawing appealed to Tworkov’s interest in further flattening the space of two-dimensional surfaces. In the last years of his practice, he applied diagrammatic structures based on elementary geometry, such as the Fibonacci ratio 3:5:8, to the surface of the paper. He then filled the resulting delineations with horizontal rows of methodically repeated marks.