I saw this beautiful Cy Twombly painting yesterday at the RISD Museum. It is Untitled, 1968. Twombly had a fascination with calligraphic drawing. He had worked as a cryptologist in the US Army. I can feel how sound and the act of transposing all of that information for the Army filtered into this work.
In the late 1960s Twombly made a series of paintings he called his “blackboard” paintings, oil and crayon on canvas. The sweeping marks of the crayon on the grey oil paint seem like elemental marks drawn with his body. The scale of this action meant that inevitably, aspects of the marks were being simultaneously erased as he reached to make more. Sort of like the history he recorded as a cryptologist fading into memory.
The organic scribbles over the surface of this painting are remnants of his rhythmic performance. The erosion of the image is as poignant as the creation of it. It is messy. Just like life.
Until next time, notice the sound of your own mark making. Make marks like you mean it. CREATE.
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