Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Artist Post: Cy Twombly

Apollo and the Artist, 1975

     Cy Twombly is an artist whose work stretches beyond any one form of general communication. His works contain aspects of painting, drawing and writing; this combination of art forms makes for different interpretations of meaning, and, in my opinion, makes the work way more interesting. It is particularly interesting to notice that Twombly, starting in the 1970's, incorporates the names and aspects of Greek mythology into his work, there by drawing on aspects of this childhood interests (Twombly). However, it is important in looking at Twombly's works to realize that he often only connects to Greek myth through use of a single word, such as, "Apollo" or "Orpheus" or "Bacchus." Twombly uses this single word to illustrate the power that we associate with this particular myth, if fact he believed that a god's power lies, "...Not in a single act, but in the mobilization of the space between reading and seeing" (Twombly). So when we look at examples of Cy's work we are in fact interacting with these legendary characters and myths simply by reading the name presented to us in the work; the work itself is a way to return to the myth.
     I think that Twombly's work is interesting because it so strongly presents a "meaning" or subject but it does not elaborate on the said meaning. For example, in the work above we are confronted by the name: "Apollo." This name becomes the center focus point of the work, the rest of the piece seems to add to this one name, giving it definition and some form of substance. Now, where this work becomes so fascinating, is in the fact that we bring our own thoughts about the name to the piece, there is no figure or scenario to alter our frame of mind on the subject. The whole piece, text and imagery acts as a biography for the concept/ character of Apollo; as a, "... Network of illusions given word and form" (Twombly).
     Personally, I think this work, and almost every other work I have seen by Twombly, is amazing. I have never seen another artist that presents "text" in such a graphic and dramatic way. The fact that the text is so important, and not an afterthought, makes the piece very interesting to myself, as I find text and handwriting to be very fascinating. Also, I love how the rest of the piece, particularly the painting and drawing, adds to the concept behind the central word; one may at first think the piece is disjointed, but on closer inspection, you can see how well connected and layered the piece is. The only way I could see to make this piece any more incredible would be to place it amongst other pieces on the same subject (in this case Apollo) or perhaps provide some original context as to how the artist became interested in the subject.

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