Floral motifs have been quietly prevalent in Twombly’s art since the 1970s. Assuredly his painted and drawn translations of floral elements are not derived from nor are they equivalent to still lifes. One has a clear sense—even if only by inference—that every flower the artist paints or draws belongs to the land.
Untitled, 2001 belongs to seven untitled, garden-inspired works finished in Gaeta during the spring and summer of 2001. To create the exuberant riots of floral forms, patterns, and impressions, Twombly used thick blobs and thin washes of acrylic, applied wet into wet, in combination with pencil squiggles, wax-crayon lines, and pastel smears. The majority of the sheets also incorporate leaf- or bud-shaped collage elements, as well as small pieces of wadded, paint-soaked tissue, adding to the rich complexity of the surfaces.
Twombly has also produced sculpture for over five decades. The same raw force that inhabits his work in other media characterizes his sculpture; however, his three-dimensional objects possess a distinctly classical formality. Typically constructed of found scraps and simple, untreated materials such as wood, cloth, and plaster, most of the works are finished with a coat of white paint, which Twombly has referred to as “my marble.”
Untitled, Lexington, 2001 consists of a wood support and a trapezoidal, plaster base, both of which are whitewashed, topped with a cluster of wadded, paint-soaked paper towels and rags. Tightly packed, these vibrantly colored bundles strongly suggest a bouquet of flowers. Twombly’s flora, however, are often invested with suggestions of mortality, violence, and sexuality. Avoiding more overtly sentimental or decorative associations, the rags may also recall fragments of saturated gauze used in the stemming of a wound.
Cy Twombly. Untitled, 2001. Collection of the Artist. © Cy Twombly. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.
Cy Twombly. Untitled, Lexington, 2001. Collection of the Artist. © Cy Twombly. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.