“If you are only moved by color relationships, then you miss the point. I’m interested in expressing the big emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom.” ~Mark Rothko
Sitting on the floor (yes, the floor – despite the guard offering me a stool), looking up at the painting, it is imposing, but not overly so. There is energy here: an orange soul and white light. It is centered, but not balanced – a sickly greenish hue sneaks its way in, keeping the painting from being too powerful. It, too, is mortal.
There is variation. A clear human hand. Finger prints (or maybe just pigment imperfections) mark the orange zone. Human. Touch.
Above, the white is a cloud. Frothy. Under the gallery lights, the pigment glistens.
The piece is fire and smoke. The red is an aura; it is embers: quivering, imperfect, uneven, clinging to life. Everything is fuzzy around the edges – like looking into heat. The white-red-orange feeling of the painting is dreamy, but in a desperate way; like waking up sweaty, clutching the receding half-memory of a running dream.
Brushstrokes run up and down and sideways. Indecisive, but with a clear mood.
The piece has a whole section of the gallery to itself: a rounded-corner space that draws you in – asking floor-sitters like myself to scoot closer. The reason for intrigue and contemplation of the work is clear. It is arresting. It burns with a crackling fever and gravity and gravitas.
Rothko isn’t usually my style, but today I couldn’t leave him alone.
Image and info from: http://risdmuseum.org/pages/channel_71091