welcome back, rothko

Apr 30, 2012

 Rothko (Taschen 25th Anniversary Special Edition) by Jacob Baal-Teshuva.  The Portland Art Museum in the background.
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)

Mark Rothko and I have a few things in common.  We both taught art, have a fascination with Matisse's Red Studio, and we have roots in Portland, Oregon.  In fact, we attended the same high school- Rothko, 65 years prior.

I am a huge fan of Rothko's signature color-block paintings.  So, I was thrilled to say the least when I first heard that the Portland Art Museum would be showcasing 45 of his works this spring.  It was at the Portland Art Museum where his first one-man show took place in 1933.

I decided to go the Rothko exhibition on my birthday last month.  I wanted a quiet evening with my husband, and looking at art in a museum is about as quiet as you can get.  For a moment, time was forgotten as we slowly moved from one painting to the next.  The works in the show span 40 years of Rothko's art career, so there was a lot to take in and process.

I like to study paintings up-close.  I try to decrypt the layers of paint and sequence of brushstrokes.  By understanding the creative process, I feel that I have a better grasp of the artist's emotions involved.  Rothko himself encouraged viewers to look at his art at an intimate proximity for this very reason. 
"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 relationship, then you miss the point."

Hickey Robertson.The Rothko Chapel

If I'm ever in Houston, Texas, on my must-see list is The Rothko Chapel.  The non-denominational chapel was completed in 1971.  Inside are fourteen Rothko paintings.  What a beautiful space to go to for spiritual reflection and meditation!


Sasha said...

That's on my must visit list too! I fell in love with Rothko after seeing one of his paintings at Tate Modern. I remember it made me stop and sit down and just look...

Valerie Brown said...

I didn't know about the Rothko Chapel - thanks for telling me/us! I love Rothko's work and am envious you were able to bask in an exhibit solely dedicated to his work!

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