Sunday, 6 July 2008

IT'S FLOWERS, JIM, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW THEM















I don't know if anyone else reading this shares my love of Cy Twombly, so I'm just going to plunge right in. 

I've always really liked very, very abstract art. I laughed all the way through Yasmina Reza's play because I could imagine being the person who bought a completely white painting because they just loved it. I've made pilgrimages to odd parts of the world, like Marfa, Texas, and Dia Beacon, N.Y., to see this stuff. 

But now at Tate Modern in London we have a new show by the man I'd nominate as the greatest flower painter of the century. If you are thinking along the lines of those seventeenth century Dutch masters, think again. Cy Twombly's paintings are more about the idea of flowers: the way they move in a wind, captured in a very different way to those immaculate Dutchmen.

The same goal in the end though. Finding out what the essence of a flower is, and setting it down on paper - or in this case, giant ten foot canvases. 

I thought it was beautiful. And inspiring. This painting here seemed to me to be all about dahlias and their funny pink spikiness. Instead of flowers at a single, idealised moment, these flowers are coming apart, losing petals in a breeze, tattered and real. 

There was nothing in the show that felt to me that it could have come from any other painter. Everything is unmistakably Twombly-ish. It made me think about what I'd felt was missing at Broughton (sorry to keep going on about it). The unmistakable sense that the maker is strongly present in the artwork. With Cy, whether you'd travel continents to see more or would happily chuck the lot in the bin, you never doubt that presence for a minute. 


2 comments:

theysaywordscanbleed said...

lovely paintings.

arlene,
Gig Harbor florist

Bonnie Lambert said...

I, too, love Cy Twombly. In February I went to NYC and the Museum of Modern Art and saw his Four Seasons paintings (among others) and they were breathtaking. I love the hand writing that he often includes.