Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walking Into a Rothko

Mark Rothko
Untitled / Grey and Black

The more I work on this the more I feel like the model walked into a Mark Rothko painting and leaned on the mass of colorful greys.

Words from Mark Rothko (taken from his wiki)
"I am not an abstract painter. I am not interested in the relationship between form and color. The only thing I care about is the expression of man's basic emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, destiny."

In the June 13, 1943 edition of the New York Times, Rothko, together with Adolph Gottlieb and Barnett Newman, published the following brief manifesto:

1. To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks.
2. This world of imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense.
3. It is our function as artists to make the spectator see the world our way not his way.
4. We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.
5. It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted."
[Rothko said "this is the essence of academicism".]
There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing.
We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art."


As always the art world is ever changing. I believe the art world is struggling right now with how realism and figurative art fits into the world that modernists such as Rothko created. Struggling not only with being seen as going backwards in the progression of the art world, but also with the notion that using the tools of our time (photography, computers) makes realism redundant.
Personally I find our times exciting and hope I live long enough to see where it all takes us!

I can hardly believe I am almost finished with this. Unfortunately I can not work on it today... I have to drive to a gallery and then obligations at my kids' school, but it is probably fair to say it will be finished by the end of the week. Not too bad for how big it is and how small my paintbrush was (the tip of a pencil).


April Jarocka said...

Nicole. She is looking absolutely fabulous. The photos have come out really well, and you must be pleased. It makes me want to pick up my pastels again. All the best

Sheona Hamilton Grant said...

One thing I'm sure of: you are not making realism redundant...WOW! (I know you've not finished but it slipped out!)
Another thing I'm sure of: I'll be unable to say much when you've finished (without a doubt suffering from "mouth hanging open" syndrom!)

Rita said...

This is coming along incredibly Nicole! I love the pic from the previous post of you working on this as it really puts into perspective just how large this piece is.
Your use of negative space is working well and I'm anxious to see the final outcome as it's already looking fantastic!

Casey Klahn said...

Put my vote in among those contemporaries who value all forms of visual art.

The abstractionists (I love abstraction) didn't "say" the last word on art - look at all of the realists working today as proof.

Nicole Caulfield said...

Thank you April, Sheona and Rita!

I couldn't agree with you more Casey and I hope my post came off that way!

Paula Pertile said...

Impressive and lovely and profound Nicole!

I love Rothko. And the ones you mentioned in the last post. Glad you paid them all a visit!

Sylvia Jenstad said...

I agree... this is an amazing painting... really cool... the colours... the compostion... everything...

Michael Finley said...

I could not resist and went to Nichole's studio and saw the portrait in progress and the one that I had seen in progress before. I have given up on looking for superlatives. I can write it is even more .... in person.

Liz P said...

Great series of posts surrounding this piece, Nicole. I love that you visited the MFA in the middle of your work!

This just beautiful. The dark background along with your use of stones and the expanse of concrete make those young hands and face seem even more alive.

One question... how is your drawing hand?!

Reflections From Life Art Blog said...

Wow, Nicole, this is absolutely huge!!!! You're doing terrific on it too, as usual!! Nice work!

Jo Castillo said...

Wow! I'm speechless.