An Abstract Artist Influences a Hyper-Realist.

The Importance of the Personal Perspective

Mark Rothko
Orange Red and Yellow 
Oil on Canvas

There is a misconception that skill in art is only measured by how much it looks like a photo. I love realism and must admit that my own work does fall into the Hyper-Realist genre. However; our lives are not only concrete and tangible. Our lives often fall into the mystical and the abstract as well. How can we ignore such an important aspect of our humanity?

Mark Rothko is best known as one of the central figures of the Abstract Expressionist movement in American art in the 1950s and ’60s. His full impact on the art world is not yet known.

Mark calls to us through his backgrounds and brought his life experiences to the forefront of his canvases. He made us look where, in the past, we only glanced before. The foreground and the figure are what we wanted to concentrate our attention on. Rothko, was only interested in expressing human emotions and communicating them.

These expansive canvases were large and sometimes monumental yet they demanded the intimacy of our full attention. The colors and the shapes got to know us, and we became acquainted with them too. Large color fields with the softest edges and light blends give back to us insight into our humanity and the mortality that we would sometimes rather not ponder. It is in listening to these strange shadows that we find ourselves. The saturated reds and oranges of life and youth, along with, conversely, the inevitability of life’s frailty seen through the inky black canvases speak to us one on one.

Painting above:

Mark Rothko 1961″Orange, Red, Yellow”

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Mark, Helps me to Search for the Abstract in my Art and in my Life.

Here are two paintings where you can see his influence on my work.

“Persephone in Autumn” pastel on wood panel

“Aroused by Rothko” India Ink and Airbrush on paper

Mark Rothko was a true Master Artist

There is the abstract in my life which is so important to me, memories such as the scent of a lover’s hair, the light as it warmed my face on a summer’s trip to the countryside, the touch of a kitten’s fur as it brushed up against my leg or the anxiety of the unknown dark corners of my fears. These are all powerful life experiences that come with being alive. There is also a prayer. How can we express the feeling of having a conversation with the creator of the universe? The abstraction of art is the only way to begin. Can I express all this through painting realistically only? No, I must find the abstract along with the real. If I ignore either of them, I tell but half the story.

Mark Rothko “Black on Maroon”

“Red, Brown, and Black” 1958 Mark Rothko

“A picture lives by companionship, expanding and quickening inside the eyes of the sensitive observer. It dies by the same token; Therefore, it is a risky and unfeeling act to send it out into the world”

~Mark Rothko

Conclusion

Mark was a master at the ethereal and abstract qualities in art and I can not explain it to you, but you need to experience it for yourself. Here is a video where my favorite art historian, Simon Schama, enlightens us about the work of this twentieth Century master artist along with an insight into the man. Mark is a hero and I am saddened that I did not get to study with him.

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