John Yau reviews Cy Twombly: Treatise on the Veil at the Morgan Library & Museum, on view through January 25, 2015.
Yau writes: "In Twombly’s case, every scribble and scrawl feels absolutely necessary. This is how the drawings in the exhibition came across, and I could only marvel at them. Through the placement of the five or six strips of paper and the density of marks covering them, as well as the folding or tearing of the bottom edge, Twombly was able to evoke a multiplicity of narratives within the framework of the series’ inspiration, which is the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice emerging from the underworld. Attached by tape at the top, the strips suggest veils, plinths and abstract forms. With the marks covering them going from an all-over density to a few scrawls, one could read them as moving from darkness to light, registering the fated journey undertaken by Orpheus and Eurydice as he tries to lead her out of the underworld. In one drawing, the two strips on the far left side touch each other near their top inside edges, so that they slowly spread apart as they descend. They could be a veil torn apart, or two figures leaning on each other, or an opening between two massive slabs. Twombly was never literal and the rich allusiveness of his work resists a reductive approach or any sense there is a one-to-one correspondence, with this meaning that."