Thursday, November 17, 2016
In Search of Mark Rothko
This is a long story... A few years ago I was watching a DVD by Simon Schama called "The Power of Art" and one segment is about the painter Mark Rothko. Schama talks about seeing a group of paintings by Rothko at the Tate Modern in London, and he talks of being overwhelmed with emotion when first seeing the paintings. So I may not use the right words, but Rothko is an abstract expressionist, and I have trouble understanding and feeling paintings of that genre. But because of his reaction, I decided I need to work hard at understanding Rothko's works. There is an exhibit in Manhattan at the Pace Gallery that I went to with my friend Stan and his wife Ann. This exhibit is from his "Dark Palette" period, and I find these really dark paintings even harder to understand.
I love the first photograph of the elderly couple seated in front of the large maroon painting. What is particularly nice is the reflection of the painting in the floor. And that painting was one that I connected with. The second photo is interesting to me because the woman is the same color as the painting. There is so little detail visible in that brown painting.
This photo happened in an interesting way. I was looking at this painting from a distance, and I realized the woman in front of me dressed in black was blending into the dark painting! I was about to take the photograph, and she walked away. I thought about it for a couple of minutes, then went over to the woman and asked if she would come back and stand in front of the painting again. She said "yes" which was nice. This is very subtle and very dark, but that is what it looked like in real life.
And this is one of the paintings as it appeared in person. Really dark, and very little detail, except for the band through the center of the painting. I have a lot of work to do before I begin to understand more about these works, and this artist. Please click on each of the images, and you will be able to see some of the subtle detail in each of the paintings.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:23 PM