This time last year I was lucky enough to be visiting Chicago and spent time in the Art Institute with my brighter half and her Ma.
A beautiful day in America was not what I expected particularly after a long drive in from the suburb of Joliet. I am happy to say, however, that arriving in Millenium Park was almost a day in itself for me… I would advise anybody to visit.
I guess the clear blue skies helped the experience but seeing Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate become part of the city so comfortably, was inspiring. I spent a couple of hours being entertained by the reflections of the crowds, the buildings surrounding it and the way it complemented Frank Gehry’s nearby outdoor pavilion.
An afternoon of immersion in the Art Institute beckoned, and despite being staggered by the cost of entry (we are so lucky in the UK) we headed for the Modern Art section.
I saw wonderful works; Eva Hesse, De Kooning and the indescribable Chagall window.
However, the work that had the most impact was this piece by Cy Twombly. He is one of the artists that I ‘recognise’ as being part of something to which I also belong … (I don’t know what that is, as yet).
You can imagine my mirth when Rachel’s Ma proclaimed the typical views of it being rubbish and easy and how everybody is fooled into thinking it has worth of any value.
I was grateful to be able to explain how much this painting moved me; as an expression of a language that Twombly had practiced, day after day to be able to retell his stories, his private dialogues with himself, with his faith. The extremities that had been explored, the acerbic ridicule that had to be endured to be able to freely garnish a work with such love and passion shows an artist of great endurance and a person of strong faith.
As a strong Catholic woman with constant reference to worship, guilt and self-analysis… I think it struck a chord. To display a genuine commitment to the yearning of reach, to embed your habit in the worship of awe and wonder and to be humble in the gifting of this ability… well.
I can see all of this in Twombly I can read his marks like the words of her bible. Not instruction, but example … learning to be faithful to your instinct and your calling.