Ok, so Mark Rothko isn’t who you think of when you think of “collage.” But hey, just as metal heads can be inspired by Mozart – those of us in “mixed media” can be inspired by the more traditional painters. Not that there’s anything really traditional about Rothko.
Mark Rothko is pretty much my favorite artist in the history of ever. Though I’m now breaking into a sweat wondering if I can really quantify that at all and if I can if it’s really Rothko or perhaps Frida Kahlo or… yeah, anyhow. Let’s just put that out there that Rothko’s my favorite and just no one hold a gun to my head asking me to stick to it.
Now, everyone knows that seeing a piece of art in a reproduction and seeing the original are worlds apart. Some works stand up to reproduction better than others – The Mona Lisa, for one, is famously underwhelming in person. Rothko is the other side of that coin. If you’ve never seen a Rothko in person and you have the opportunity, go forth and do it now. For me, Rothko is one of the few artists whose work makes me feel truly spiritual to look at it in person. It’s amazingly transcendent and textural. What looks like a simple block of color in a photograph becomes this whole world of color when you view the painting. Truly, I can understand the “Pfft, I could do that” dismissiveness of Rothko when viewing prints… but you see these amazing, amazing works in person and you realize that not only could you never do that, but it’s totally miraculous that anyone ever did.
I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.
The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions.. the people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their color relationships then you miss the point.