Thursday, August 4, 2011

For Wells

This photograph is abstracted from a painting by the artist Mark Rothko, Untitled (Black, Red over Black on Red), 1964 at Le Centre Pompidou in Paris. The first time I saw Rothko paintings in person was at the Tate Modern in London, and I was surprised as I began crying. Standing close enough to the paintings to be totally immersed in the color was really a spiritual experience for me. I later had a friend give me the BBC series Simon Schama's The Power of Art, highlighting various artists, one of them being Rothko. Schama talks about his impressions, looking at some of Rothko's final paintings, as "gateways" and "open portals into unknown places" that are "meant to embrace" and express the "poignancy of our comings and goings, our entrances and exits, our births and deaths."

I'm thinking of Rothko and these sentiments in connection with another exceptional artist, Richard Wells. I had the pleasure to learn art history from him at university, and he passed away last week. He most often would wear black clothing with accents of white, plus red socks that peeked vibrantly through the black. Those colors are so striking together, and always feel extra expressive to me. This Rothko piece in black and red reminds me of Professor Wells for that reason, and with Schama's ideas that Rothko's work is "about forever, feeling the eons rolling by," I feel honor for Richard Wells and his loving family, and hope the "poignancy" of his passing will be matched by the peace of their Forever.

3 comments:

marymary said...

What beautiful sentiments, and how beautifully expressed.

jessipants said...

awe beautiful. the rikster from days of old shared your love of this piece. love you lani.

luminainfinite said...

I want to go to the Rothko Chapel! And now I also want to dress in all black with only a few color accents!