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Mark Rothko - Untitled

An abstract expressionist painter

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My favorite painter

  • Feb 4, 2009
  • by
My love affair with Mark began on that fateful afternoon in my freshman year in college...  After my first midterm, I strolled into a poster store on Telegraph ave.   I was busily browsing through various posters, and then my eyes met his orange and yellow, and that was end of the story.  

OK, I was talking about his paintings.  :-)  I spent my 2 week allowance on his poster and got it mounted.  I cherished it ever since until the cork board finally gave in after so many moves.  Many of my friends made fun of my taste, "My 5 year daughter can do that."  But that didn't deter my love for this poster and his other works.  Let me try to explain...

I really can't talk about it in the terms the art critics use.  I don't know the lingo.  All I can say is that his paintings "move" me and invokes certain familiarity.  Sure, they are mainly just big blobs of colors.  But isn't a beautiful sunset, the clear blue ocean or snow capped mountains also just blob of colors?  And yet we LOVE them.  They are absolutely beautiful and among the dominant colors there are lots of subtle interesting details.  Well, that's how I feel about Rothko's painting, especially his later works.  They are usually big blob of colors, but if you look, there are also lots of interesting subtle "marks."  The painted colors are not just flat, but each stroke of paint have a life of their own.

Well, if you have a chance, go take a look for yourself.  Stand in front of his large paintings and see yourself getting engulfed by them.


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April 30, 2009
My roommate from my first apartment had a Rothko painting (print) on the living room wall. It was huge and made the living room look very adult-like. It was very nice but I don't know what it was called. By the way, did you see the episode of Mad Men when they snuck into the boss' office and stared at his Rothko painting? They weren't sure if they were supposed to think it was shite or pure brilliance because their boss was so inscrutable. :P
April 30, 2009
No, I haven't seen the show. I heard it's a great show though. I can totally picture the scene. :-) To be honest, I wouldn't know which side is up if someone gave me a random Rothko painting. But I don't care. I really don't care to make some meaning out of any abstract work. I either like something or don't. Honestly, there are a lot of "art" out there that I think are c**p, but maybe they speak to someone else.
May 01, 2009
I won't spoil the episode for you then--you should check out the show! The costumes (60s clothing) and makeup/hair is great for someone who likes that stuff and even though my parents were immigrants around that time and would not have "fit" in that world, I still enjoy the show--there are 2 seasons so far.

I feel the same as you about art but when I was younger I was a lot less secure about being able to say I don't like something or I don't see anything deep in something. So there is something good about getting older I guess! You don't have to be as pretentious (or pretend to be pretentious :P)
March 12, 2009
Modern art is totally underrated by people who don't take the time to really see what they're looking at, and it's a shame. I get so much out of Rothko, the colors and the monumental scale and all, and I pity those who dismiss him without trying it. Thanks for your post.
February 11, 2009
Wow, another Rothko fan! I love the video you posted, because it'll help those who aren't familiar with Rothko to develop an appreciation for his work.
February 04, 2009
One of my friends did just that: stand in front of a Rothko and stare at it for a new minutes. To this day, he had a deep, abiding love for this artist.
More Mark Rothko reviews
Quick Tip by . September 30, 2009
Apart from Cezanne, perhaps the painter whose work I can gaze at and get lost in, hearing music. He's oceanic and atmospheric.
About the reviewer
Jennifer ()
Ranked #114
On my spare time, I love to see and experience new things; hence traveling and eating are one of my favorite things to do. I like abstract art (love Mark Rothko's works), classical music, interior design, … more
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Mark Rothko was a Lativan-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted the classification as an "abstract painter".

One of the preeminent artists of his generation, Mark Rothko is closely identified with the New York School, a circle of painters that emerged during the 1940s as a new collective voice in American art. During a career that spanned five decades, he created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting. Rothko's work is characterized by rigorous attention to formal elements such as color, shape, balance, depth, composition, and scale; yet, he refused to consider his paintings solely in these terms. He explained:  It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

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Art, Artists, Painters, Abstract Expressionism, 20th Century Painters


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