Rothko and the active surrender into the exaltation of the art forms, the power of mythology and filling the spiritual void
Filling in the void with the mythological, dramatic, spiritual power that drives this world forward according to Mark Rothko
With Rothko, we are launching into the abstract, spiritual, powerful through his visual expressions. He used to say “The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them.”
My first impression when seeing the paintings by Rothko were along the lines of questioning if he is using or misusing the concept of abstraction, however when I read this:
“The perception of beauty is definitely an emotional experience. That does not mean exclusively the human emotionalism of sentiment or sensuousness (as has already been shown), but instead that the process involves an exaltation which is communicated to us through the emotional system. This exaltation is usually composed of sentiment, sensation, and, in its highest state, intellectual approbation… Beauty conforms to the demands of the spirit. The experience of beauty may also be a sign of the reception of the creative impulse.” Mark Rothko
I realized that we all share this world of mythology, drama, exchange of power and the sense of awe can be communicated much more plainly, compared the contemporaries who were focused on the stripping down object to it’s most basic form.
Today’s tech powered highly dense world would indeed benefit from some silence so beautifully explained in here
“When I was a younger man, art was a lonely thing. No galleries, no collectors, no critics, no money. Yet, it was a golden age, for we all had nothing to lose and a vision to gain. Today it is not quite the same. It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption. Which condition is better for the world at large I shall not venture to discuss. But I do know, that many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. We must all hope we find them.”
― Mark Rothko
The spiritual void could only be filled when we are faced with the extraordinary. Sometimes it is derived from the imagination, other times it is derived from real world troubles which shaped 20th century with the two wars and left the mark.
Social revolution and the right to express was one of the most important themes in Rothko artistic language. He was heavily influenced by mythology, philosophy and Russian-Jewish traditions. He believed that they filled the void, with which we are faced and have to find the transcendental not only by observing and experiencing but also through intellectual exaltation.
In 1936, Rothko began writing a book, never completed, about similarities in the art of children and the work of modern painters. According to Rothko, the work of modernists, influenced by primitive art, could be compared to that of children in that “child art transforms itself into primitivism, which is only the child producing a mimicry of himself.” In this manuscript, he observed that “the fact that one usually begins with drawing is already academic. We start with color.” Rothko was using fields of color in his aquarelles and city scenes. His style was already evolving in the direction of his renowned later works. Despite this newfound exploration of color, Rothko turned his attention to other formal and stylistic innovations, inaugurating a period of surrealist paintings influenced by mythological fables and symbols.