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Sally Mann – Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington

Art Scene

Sally Mann – Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington

Sally Mann’s special ability to capture the ethereal fading of time in images is once again at work in her exhibition, Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington. On view at Gagosian Gallery, the work is a detached yet personal documentation of her friendship with legendary painter and fellow Virginia native, Cy Twombly.

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Remembered Light, Untitled (Slippers and Flare), 2005
Gelatin silver print
16 x 20 inches (40.6 x 50.8 cm)
© Sally Mann.  Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

The images reveal a quietude and silence that evokes Twombly’s habitat for work, objects of interest and, in particular, the nature of the light in his studio. They give minimal clues to the personality or temperament of an individual, but more so to a working environment that allowed for focus, calm and rigorous engagement with paint.

Images in black and white and color appear fleeting, delicate and casual in their execution; as if a creative freedom, independent of expectations or outcomes, was available to Mann in this environment. Perhaps, friends making space for one another’s creative experimentation, nuances and play.

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SALLY MANN
Remembered Light, Untitled (Dancing Cherubs), 2011/2012
Platinum print
9 x 14 inches (22.9 x 35.56 cm)
© Sally Mann.  Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

Pale hues, warm whites and minimalist pops of color in the form of splattered paint fill the images, many of which appear to be cast in a soft mist or fog. Numerous images show glimpses of sunlight slipping through ordinary window coverings in the form of blinds. Always loosely closed, controlling the light, this choice seems to suggest the solitude of Twombly’s creative process, or perhaps Mann’s and Twombly’s interactions.

In the image, Remembered Light, Untitled (Angled Light), the vibrant nature of natural light in open space is evoked. The black and white image depicts sunlight entering the corner of a room at an angle. Strings from the blinds, so ubiquitous throughout Mann’s Twombly images, dangle in that same half of the image against a shadowed wall. Echoing the strings on the other half of the image is a corner of a canvas or piece of paper with three marks, presumably made by Twombly. The room, carpeted in what looks like industrial grade floor covering, reveals its simplicity and modernity through the edge of the carpet that is shown underneath a drop cloth, a wall outlet and a built in heating and cooling unit; simultaneously an ordinary and unordinary studio space.

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SALLY MANN
Remembered Light, Untitled (Angled Light), 1999-2000
Gelatin silver print
20 x 24 inches (50.8 x 61 cm)
© Sally Mann.  Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

A cacophony of color enters in the image, Remembered Light, Untitled (Drips and Newspaper). Once again, Mann directs her eye toward the intersection of floor, wall and canvas. An erratic array of marks and brushstrokes energetically fills a central portion of the canvas area that the viewer can see. Paint splattered newspaper, instead of a drop cloth, covers linoleum flooring. Shot at a downward angle, the image’s composition enhances the sense of crazed motion imbued in Twombly’s work in progress hanging on the wall. The quietness of the light in the image offers a discordant juxtaposition to the effort that seems to have gone into Twombly’s painterly act in this piece.

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SALLY MANN
Remembered Light, Untitled (Drips and Newspaper), 1999
Inkjet print
8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
© Sally Mann.  Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

A subtle exhibition, Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington, not only gives a glimpse of a world renowned artist’s work life, but a sense of the intimate nature of Twombly and Mann’s friendship; one that reveals their work, but respects the details of their private encounters.