Thursday, October 9, 2014

Modern Art (pt. 19)

Mark Rothko fused color field painting with the developing artistic style of Minimalism to create some of the art world's most recognizable canvases.  His paintings often comprise only two or three colors, painted in simple shapes that plainly cover the canvas and give no reference to subject matter.  The above painting is his Orange and Yellow.
Again, approaching their art with philosophically and theoretically experimental techniques, painters like Diebenkorn and Rothko saw art as a more complicated invention than a mere visual copying of the physical reality of the world around them.  Abstract emotions and concepts must also exist in the two-dimensional frame of the canvas, but in order to convey these intangible elements the artist's approach to painting needed to change dramatically.  Here we just see patches of color, but more focally we are looking at orange and yellow.  By allowing these colors (mere pigments of light itself) to speak for themselves, the artist opens the door for transcendent, metaphysical significance to permeate the canvas as luminously and vividly as the hues of the painter's palate.  But what truth or meaning do you see in this?  Within the blankness of such abstraction, transcendent significance no doubt lurks, if you'll forgive the pun, in many shades but seldom in definitive, outright clarity.  In such hazy interpretive contexts, therefore, might some of us be vindicated in raising our own arguments as to the questionable integrity such art maintains to its genre or medium?  Do you think this is art?

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