Turner, Monet, Twombly @ the Tate

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Painter Gary Wragg records his impressions of the recent exhibition Turner, Monet, Twombly: Later Paintings at Tate Liverpool.

Wragg writes: "I am fascinated by Twombly’s compulsion, shared with many recent and current painters, for urgency, here-ness, enveloping near-ness, and close-ness, beyond composition. Concomitant with science’s understanding of the expanding evolution and nature of the universe, I find it interesting to see how the mark-making of Turner, Monet and Twombly evolved successively bigger, nearer and more emphatically tactile from one to the other over the span of three centuries. Twombly’s application of paint is more splashy, gungy and physical than Monet’s, whereas Monet’s is more systematically flattened and emphasised across the surface than Turner’s. Nowadays bonkers erratic in your face scribblings and splashings or heightened-colour-flatness stems from a very real need for possession, for being thrown out, in and around, and gripped by a simultaneously in out of kilter connectivity. The spectator becomes a magnet catching the memory of fleeting sensations of being in the studio and has an empathy with the artist working directly with painting. The overriding power of making and resolution seems to arise in spirit as much as in feeling, in the hand; it is central to the experience of most of the paintings in this exhibition, that seem of their time yet as timeless as the first handprint in pigment on a cave wall, made forty seven thousand years ago."

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