This collaborative project took me somewhat by surprise. My wife and I chanced to spend an afternoon visiting with a group of artists at the home of the painter Terence Hughes, whom we had not met before. He spoke to us at length on many subjects, including his experiences as a young artist and of the years he spent teaching. He recalled seeing Cy Twombly’s early paintings and the influence they had on him. He told us about an idea for a project that had been bothering him for some time. He’d been dreaming, he said, of painting Genesis in the style of early Cy Twombly (or rather his recalled experience of it, which he admitted might not be entirely accurate) in caulk.
This struck me as an odd project. It struck me as even odder when he told me to do it – he’d probably never get around to it, he said. Of course I assumed he was joking. The project was alien to all my technical, aesthetic, and conceptual inclinations. As the conversation progressed, however, he persisted in suggesting I attempt the piece, and increasingly it seemed to me that, though his speaking style was circuitous, it was not aimless, that it revolved around ideas of artistic genesis and genealogy, of influence across artistic generations. More and more the project made sense to me, particularly the odd, asymmetrical collaboration involved.
The resulting piece is entitled “Like Cy Twombly, Genesis, in Caulk,” he Said.