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Archive for July 1st, 2022

mark_rothko



It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted […] There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

Mark Rothko



From 2015:

I have often said, often without much grace, that the subject for a painting is secondary, not really that important so long as the painting says something, expresses feeling and evokes emotion within the viewer. I think the work of Mark Rothko is a good example of this sentiment. They are simple of blocks of opposing colors set one over the other or, as in the case of the piece above, one alongside another.

Seemingly without subject.

Seemingly about nothing.

But as Rothko states, there is no such thing as a good painting about nothing. And this is a good painting. It allows the viewer’s own emotions into its space, lets their own story become the story and subject of this work. That space is the subject and purpose of this work.

So, every picture does tell a story. Some dictate the story, forcing the viewer to follow a set storyline through the picture as though they were the plot of a murder-mystery novel. Others do so like a song or poetry, evoking feeling with a suggestion or a gentle nudge. The viewer here is complicit in the fulfillment of the art.

For myself, I prefer the latter but have enjoyed works with more obvious subjects.  Perhaps not as deeply felt but enjoyable, nonetheless. I still question where my work falls on this scale. I am sure it has been both and I know I am much more satisfied when it appears more poetic. But being able to dictate the nature of the work is often beyond me. It sometimes appears in the poetic form seemingly on its own, without my direction.

And that is most satisfying.  And elusive.

Here’s a song that echos Rothko’s sentiments. Sort of. It’s the classic Every Picture Tells a Story from Rod Stewart. I am not a big Rod Stewart fan but when he hits the mark, it’s pretty special. He hits the mark pretty hard here.



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