I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.
‘• Mark Rothko

Ever wondered what the big deal is about  Mark Rothko? Aren’t they just big old blocks of color? So many students that I have worked with discount Rothko’s genius. I get it! I did too. It wasn’t until I saw one in person that I could appreciate that they are so much more than big blocks of color.

Gas From a Dying Star Credit: NASA/Hubble Heritage Team

Gas From a Dying Star Credit: NASA/Hubble Heritage Team

Have you ever gone star gazing on a clear dark night? Ever get the feeling that if somehow you could just look a bit harder that you could see beyond…..that there was more there…. if your eye could just….somehow…..see further?

In many ways that is the same feeling I got while viewing a work by Rothko.

No. 8 Mark Rothko, 1952 American

No. 8
Mark Rothko, 1952

When I saw my first Rothko – I was sucked in.

It was  translucent. It pulsed, it vibrated, it floated. It was what I could see, it was what I couldn’t see.

You just had the sense that you were looking through layers of colored chiffon. It made you wonder what was behind the fabric. For the first time, I saw the genius. It was so simple and yet it defied description.

How he does it –  SmartHistory lecture on Rothko’s methods.