My unfailing, overwhelmingly emotional reaction to the Abstract Expressionist work of the 1940s has been a constant in my life for many decades.
To my mind, Mark Rothko may be the best and brightest artist that has ever lived....and that is quite a statement. Quick brain scan ... yes, I can commit to that statement.
Mark Rothko (1903-1970) emigrated from Russia as a child and spent his youth in Oregon. Rothko was educated at Yale. He found art in later years, enrolling in the seminal Art Students' League in New York around 1926.
Rothko resolutely resisted the tag of abstraction, even as his work evolved into pure abstraction. In my opinion, he transcended abstraction by conveying pure feeling through shape and color.
It is through feeling that Rothko's sublime painting becomes "Abstract Expressionism".
I have seen Rothko's work classified as "Color Field Painting".... a logical progression, but I respectfully disagree. There is too much emotion in Rothko's work to be strictly color field, which is academic.
To contemplate a Rothko painting in real time is to experience a progression of sensations and changes: physical, emotional and spiritual. There is extreme movement in a deceptively simple, apparently static canvas. If a person spends enough time with a Rothko, I believe there may be the opportunity to glimpse eternity.
If memory serves, Rothko himself described his work as an expression of 'the universal one', a universal spirituality, or GOD.
At some point, Mark Rothko ceased to title his paintings, believing that titles limited his goal of transcendence.
When queried as to his motivation for non-description, Mark Rothko's succinct response was "Silence is so accurate".
In Truth and Beauty....
Images from National Gallery of Art Website