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Archive for March 12th, 2022

Mark Rothko Untitled (Yellow and Blue) 1954 detail

Mark Rothko- Untitled (Yellow and Blue) 1954 detail



“You might as well get one thing straight. I’m not an abstractionist… I’m not interested in the relationships of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions—tragedy, ecstasy, doom and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures show that I communicate those basic human emotions… The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationships then you miss the point.”

― Mark Rothko, 1956 Interview with Selden Rodman



Busy morning ahead with painting and plowing from what I hope is the last snowfall of this winter. But I thought I would share a Mark Rothko painting ( actually a detail of its lower section) and a video on it from Sotheby’s auction house ( where it sold for $46.5 million in 2015) along with several Rothko quotes.

Rothko (1903 -1970) was a big influence on my early work. The idea of expressing the big human emotions through simplified forms and color really spoke to me because I never looked at painting as a craft but more as a means to express those forms of emotion that well up inside because they are sometimes too difficult to express in words and voices.

Another aspect that attracts me to Rothko is that he, like Kandinsky, was often eloquent in speaking about his work and art in general. And in those words I found that my own already developed perspectives often largely meshed with and echoed both of these artists’ words and views.

For example, in the quote below the idea that a picture lives by companionship is one that is central to my work.

“A picture lives by companionship, expanding and quickening in the eyes of the sensitive observer. It dies by the same token. It is therefore risky to send it out into the world. How often it must be impaired by the eyes of the unfeeling and the cruelty of the impotent.”

Here a few more that also speak to me.

“It is the poet and philosopher who provide the community of objectives in which the artist participates. Their chief preoccupation, like the artist, is the expression in concrete form of their notions of reality. Like him, they deal with the verities of time and space, life and death, and the heights of exaltation as well as the depths of despair. The preoccupation with these eternal problems creates a common ground which transcends the disparity in the means used to achieve them.”



“When I was a younger man, art was a lonely thing. No galleries, no collectors, no critics, no money. Yet, it was a golden age, for we all had nothing to lose and a vision to gain. Today it is not quite the same. It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption. Which condition is better for the world at large I shall not venture to discuss. But I do know, that many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. We must all hope we find them.”



Below are two links– I am not sure if the video will fully embed– that will take you to the short video on this Rothko painting. Well worth a couple of minutes.



//players.brightcove.net/104524641001/Q12GqRfew_default/index.html?videoId=4204776647001



https://www.sothebys.com/en/videos/mark-rothko-untitled-yellow-and-blue-1954

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