Ariah Fine Final Art Survey Paper March 4, 2002

Mark Rothko Marcus Rothkowitz till 1940 American born Russian 1903-1970, emigrated to US in 1913, citizen 1938 “Painting” 1954 oil on canvas

Nice colors, sort of. As in you don’t see that much orange or yellow of that tint all in one place at once naturally. But “who cares?” My first impression is some rich guy paid thousands for something my little sister could have done with enough paint. I mean it’s a big canvas, so in a sense larger than life. I certainly wouldn’t try and make a painting that size on my Sunday afternoon. My impression? I see in it the millions of babies that die because they can’t get anything to eat, and the terrible injustice of oppressive government like our own, but we don’t seem to care, we’d rather walk around humming about an image on a wall, trying to appreciate life. You want to appreciate life? Sit in a village in sub Sarah Africa and watch some people die from AIDS, remembering that the whole village could have been well fed for years if that rich guy really appreciated life more then a new piece for his foyer. And you know what else? I think it’s like The Emperors New Clothes. We think we have found the meaning to life in this 10’x10’ piece of orange, and it certainly must be because thousands of true experts thought it was special enough to put in a museum with our tax dollars. But, I still don’t see it. Maybe we are to scared to look at the messed up world, so we finding meaning in an orange and yellow canvas. Maybe we need to wake up to the fact that it doesn’t mean that much, and that the emperor is really naked. I don’t get it.

Memories inspired…

It’s like a computer: Yellow rectangle=Keyboard + Orange square = Monitor, an incredibly useful thing that we end up spending hundred’s of useless hours just staring at. Blocks, I used to play with, I don’t remember ever playing with blocks like these but their the sort of colors people would expect blocks to be. I really normally played with legos, which these could be, but then there to surreal, legos were always concrete specific, fit together exactly to build something specific.

If I turn my head sideways it looks like a yellow door swung open for me to look out into the orange world. An orange world, orange the color hazards, a cool color which now means “caution,” “don’t cross,” a world that from childhood is restricted because we have been and are making it to dangerous to really live in. Always, careful, never crossing the orange to our eminent disaster, Even people wear orange, to say, “Watch out, here I am, See ME!” But we are far to busy being mesmerized by the depth of meaning in a painting and all it tells us about life to notice that person.

If it’s not clear already, I’m angry. It used to be a joke: “you could sit and watch the paint dry,” as if it was the most boring thing in the world, but people, I realize, actually do it. But my anger isn’t at the painting itself, or even the artist whose insides are screaming to express herself. I’m learning to appreciate all that; I certainly wish I could make a perfect embodiment of my humanity. I guess I’m not even angry with those who sit in front of the painting truly trying to understand themselves and their world and that other human, the artist. But I’m angry because it all happens amidst a dead and dying world. I guess just the system itself upsets me. Let those who don’t know Christ, do what ever they want, but Oh I pray there is balance in the Christians life, between the inspiration and meaning one might get from hours in front of a painting and the service and sharing of resource they have to a world that doesn’t even know a painting. I just saw the most beautiful art piece in the whole museum, it’s the girl sitting next to me. So the painting evokes confusion, why we spend time and money on trying to understand this bridging of the gap and leave neglected that humanity of ours and others that we are trying so hard to understand. Non-objective Art- geometric shapes: top orange square about 2x size of bottom yellow rectangle. maybe it is a reducing of some objects down to its most purest form, like a computer, even if there weren’t computers then. But then there is the soft edges etc. like Monet’s time of impressionism. The orange is definitely forceful but the whole painting is at rest, not really attacking you off the painting, like Mondrian did. Oops, maybe it was surrealism and I wasn’t supposed to ask, “What does it mean?” If you look close you can see the running of the paint the yellow plop on the bottom being about five shades, and then- the orange stray dots of yellow and even some white, which follows the footsteps (Liberation) of Pollock’s allowing the paint to leave the brush, even pouring over the canvas. “I wonder if he used a brush?” How has the artist altered the historical precedents in this contemporary version? Rothko, along with many of his contemporaries, but like none of his historical role models was entering an arena of art never entered before. The branches of this wide field of experience we call art, the Abstract and Non-objective were places we had never truly seen before. But, Rothko and his peers were pushing the envelope, like none before

it. Rothko’s “Painting” that I sat in front of for a couple hours is a great example of this. The historical precedent had always been calculated, every drop smoothly off the brush. But when you look close his painting you can see the stray dots. You can see the running of the paint across the canvas. You can still see the artist use of shading across the edges of the square and rectangle, a handle on the old master technique. But it has been distorted for sure. The distortion was the shading’s freedom. Nothing really controlled, at least not the way it used to be. And then there is a definite exaggeration of color. There had never been much use of odd color, un natural kind of stuff, like orange and yellow. And finally there is a lack of movement in the picture, a sort of calmness. This example of twentieth century art just embodies so well, if you set it next to any piece from another century, the huge transition of this period to something so much different then anything the world had ever seen. So do I get it? No, I still don’t think I do. I understand Rothko’s desire to express himself, I write in my journal and that spews my thoughts and expresses myself. Others do it through paint and a canvas, so it doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t mean anything. But, maybe it does mean something, maybe something that it struck in me was actually what Rothko was trying to provoke. And we all are closer to one another and closer to God. It would all make so much more sense to me if the world wasn’t as terrible as it is. I guess that is all there is to it. May the Lord continue to move in my heart to see His heart in this world and it’s art. I know He has certainly used this class to give me a far greater appreciation for art itself and what it means. It has been amazing.

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