Saturday, 13 February 2010

Getting inside the work - comments on Rothko

I have started reading The Artist's Reality, Philosophies of Art by Mark Rothko.
A quotation from the Introduction by Christopher Rothko:
"So much of understanding his work is personal, and so much of it is made up of the process of getting inside the work... you must undertake a sensuous adventure within the world of the painting in order to know it at all. He cannot tell you what his paintings, or anyone else's are about. You have to experience them...As his works exemplify, writing and painting involve different kinds of knowing."

As a painter paints, he is inside the work and the work is inside him, it emerges around his thoughts, and from his subconscious, growing through his moving body and settling on a surface. To describe in words all things in it, is to deny the painting it's own voice, we miss something in the translation from image to speech.