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Happy Birthday Mark Rothko!

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 7:00am by hazelbakerp

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was an Abstract Expressionist painter, famously known for his color field paintings: six or seven foot canvases painted with large rectangle swaths of color. The subjects of his paintings appear simple, and often people view them with the thought “well, I could do that.” However, Rothko’s paintings are not necessarily about the technical skill involved, they are about the way the painting makes the viewer feel, the emotions that the work elicits in the observer, and about creating the illusion of spatial infinity. Abstract Expressionism as a movement came about in New York in the 1940s, and focused on the "sublime," defined as working to capture and portray the unspeakable, be it emotion, the divine, or the cosmic. For some abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock, the art of their work is in the emotion expressed during the act of painting. For Rothko, the art is in the relationship between his painting and the viewer, in being overwhelmed by the sensation of the colors, and becoming emerged in the painting. The artist is known for saying the viewer should ideally experience his work from 18 inches away, as to become one with the painting. While our art prints are not to scale, they still do an excellent job of eliciting emotion and are available for check out here. (For the full viewing experience, be sure to check out Orange, Brown which is on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts!) To read more about the artist, check out this book written by his son, or this biography. You can also find books about Abstract Expressionism here.

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