Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Twombly

Cy Twombly has new work on view at Gagosian on 21st Street in NYC. This work is different, bold and full of color.

From the Gagosian Press Release:
Twombly conceived these vast and exuberant panel paintings with the décor and balanced order of the typical eighteenth century hôtel particulier in mind. This most recent group of paintings are of a large horizontal format, each comprising six wooden panels. Across their broad surfaces, ideogrammatic blossoms of vivid crayon and viscous pigment, and haikus pencilled in the artist's tremulous scrawl, combine and contrast with drips and efflorescent flows of startling, sometimes offbeat, mannerist color – burgundy, damask yellow, vermilion, rose, and mint green. Each of these so-called "peony" paintings is a daring invention, combining influences as diverse as French Enlightenment art, furnishings, and architecture, Japonisme, and the élan vital of Twombly's own original Abstract Expressionism.

Twombly's previous Bacchus series (2005) seethed with the visceral energies of war. In "A Scattering of Blossoms…" war cedes to flowers, for which the hero of the famous haiku disarms himself. Peonies are the favored flowers of Japanese aesthetic contemplation, appearing frequently in illustrations, folding screens, and haikus of the Edo period. Once in bloom, they offer a rush of color and texture. Here, their fragile headiness is captured and memorialized in both image and inscription. By adding his own recollections of haikus by the famous seventeenth century Japanese masters Basho and Kikaku, Twombly points to the human implications that these full-blown, elegaic paintings hold for an artist in the later stages of his life and career.

Additionally, I will add that I always feel a connection between Cy Twombly's intimate mark making and the sense of the present moment. There is something so mindful and delicate in his work, all the surrounding going-ons collapse into a perfect awareness of the stillness and engagement of the moment. I think that time is a major element in Twombly's work: the present, the past, the lack of actual relationship between the two.