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Monday, July 13, 2020

Mark Rothko and expression


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Consuelo Kanaga


Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was an American painter and contributed to the development of abstract expressionism. Wikipedia says,


"[Rothko] is best known for his color field paintings that depicted irregular and painterly rectangular regions of color, which he produced from 1949-1970." (Wikipedia: Mark Rothko, 8.12.21 UTC 06:11)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Rothko.


Exploring the unknown


"To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risk." (Manifesto, 1943)


"The most important tool the artist fashions through constant practice is the faith in his ability to produce miracles when they are needed. Pictures must be miraculous; the instant one is completed, the intimacy between the creation and creator is ended. He is an outsider." (Quoted in Abstract Expressionism Creators and Critics by Clifford Ross)




"Any shape or area that has not the pulsating concreteness of rela flesh and bones, its vulnerability to pleasure or pain is nothing at all. Any picture that does not provide the environment in which the breath of life can be drawn does not interest me." (Quoted in Abstract Expressionism Creators and Critics by Clifford Ross)


"I am not an abstractionist... I am 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..." (Beyond the Aesthetics, 1946)




"The progression of a painter's work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer." (Quoted in Abstract Expressionism Creators and Critics by Clifford Ross)


"We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth." (Manifesto, 1943, co-authors Adolph Gottlieb and Barnett Newman)


"No wonder the artist is constantly placing and displacing, relating and rupturing relations; his task is to find a complex of qualities whose feeling is just right - veering toward the unknown and chaos, yet ordered and related in order to be apprehended." (Beyond the Aesthetics, 1946)