Every now and then I realize that I am totally in step with the Mainstream Art World. Today that came about as I read the obituary for Cy Twombly. What aligns me and the MAW is that we both thought at first that Twombly was a non-event, an overrated scribbler, but as the years passed came to see him far more positively.
My first exposure to Twombly came in Houston, when on furlough one afternoon from the International Quilt Festival we visited the Menil Museum and saw the separate pavilion dedicated to his work. I didn't really understand it; although some of the works were sumptuous and beautiful, my general impression was of dirty, smudged white canvas, messy paint blobs and jittery little pencil marks way too small for their backgrounds. But as I've seen more Twomblys in other museums as well as on revisits to the Menil, they've grown on me.
Twombly liked to use words as a way to quickly invoke a subject or presence without it overwhelming the composition -- as in this detail from School of Fontainebleau, 1960, at Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin.
The obituary explains that Twombly used to practice drawing in the dark "to try to lose techniques he had learned in art classes and to express himself more instinctively."
I like that concept. It makes me feel less inadequate because I can't draw; just one less thing to unlearn in the dark.