Oscar Holloway Cows Twombly

25 Jun - 04 Sep 2020


Cows Twombly is a pictorial fantasy: the encounter between the brush strokes and the pencil squiggles in the works of Cy Twombly (1928-2011) with a collection of etched depictions of cattle dating from the late 19th century.

The sides of cows, bulls and oxen host these doodles, as they become embedded into a former pictorial framework that, far from having artistic pretensions in its original conception, aims to point out and celebrate the genetic features granted through selective cross-breeding; accentuating their most prominent characteristics such as the bulk of the neck, the protrusion of the rump or the straightness of the back.

This proposition weaves surface, texture and mesh from the etchings of cattle with the gestural strokes by Twombly, creating a playful tableau, both suggestive and docile which aims to alphabetise the painter’s graphic language while at the same time play-pretending that these animals’ flanks are the perfect canvas for Cy Twombly.

Or, inversely, one could see it as if Twombly’s doodles and brushstrokes were actually natural patterns in the pigmentation of cows’ hides, giddying the notions of originality and expression. On the other hand, Naxos, Apollo and Venus (classical nomenclature in Twombly’s pictorialism) are perfect names for oxen, bulls and cows, right?

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