Monday, December 18, 2006

'Tis the Season

Well, here it is. The week of christmas, and I have been such a Grinch this year! I have baked no christmas cookies; I've watched no holiday specials; I've only bought one gift; I was not in attendance at my work's christmas party (although, the reason I did not attend is because I was at a different party with Daryl...); and I have not sent (nor recieved, I might add) a single christmas card. Why am I such a scrooge?? Maybe it's because the weather is not sending out the usual wintery christmas vibe. As much as I hate being cold, there's something about Ohio winters during christmas time. It just doesn't seem like it's christmas without having to thaw out the locks on my car every morning. Or maybe it's because my shoes are too tight... or maybe it's because my head isn't screwed on quite right... but the biggest reason of all is that I work way too much (I know it doesn't rhyme, but I'm no Dr. Seuss)

Starting tomorrow, I will be heading off to work around 8am and won't stop working until 10pm. This will be all week. I need the extra money, and the discount at Borders is nice (okay, it's more than nice) but I feel like I won't have time to enjoy the Holidays. I do find comfort, though, in knowing that when January comes I'll have some extra cash to fall back on (I can finally start saving) while everyone else will be recooperating from the expenses of the season. In the meantime, if you don't see my face among the carolers outside your door, know that I am there in spirit.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


It's been a while since my last 'featured artist' so I thought I should share some of the amazing art that I was able to see while in England. I only visited one art museum while in London, which was the Tate Modern. The collection had several artists that I plan on sharing later, such as Mondrian, Beuys, Manzoni, and Lichtenstein, as well as a few paintings by Pollock, whom I've already discussed here. I think the highlight of the museum visit was seeing Summertime by Pollock:

It's difficult to see the vibrant forms from this picture of it, but the work itself is really quite brilliant. By the way, that is Jack the Dripper himself standing in front of the painting. However, as the title of the post suggests, this isn't another post about Pollock. It is about Mark Rothko, who had several paintings on display at the Tate, London.

The paintings that I have pictured here display Rothko's belief that a painting should be just color on canvas. That is what the medium of paint is, afterall, just color.. there is no demension to paint, and to create the illusion of dimension by various techniques is to take away the true form of painting. He also felt that painting should not refer to anything outside itself. That is, the subject of these paintings is the paint itself. When you look at the painting, you do not see reference to Lady Madonna, or a pastoral scene, but you see (get this) the painting. Just the painting. In art theory, we say it points inward rather than outward.

These paintings are quite large, and quite moving. Sometimes I cry when I look at them. Because they are so large, and because of the nature of the painting to point inward, it is easy to get lost in them; you forget that you are standing in an exhibit room of a stuffy museum looking at art. You only see the colors and feel the colors. As Rothko said himself: "The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions.. the people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their color relationships then you miss the point."

It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to understand Rothko just by looking at these pictures. You need to get to a museum and stand in front of one. The art institute of Chicago has a couple that I can sit in front of for hours. Another note about these pictures is that many of the paintings were originally contracted to go to a restaraunt, but while painting them Rothko realized that they would not reach their full potential in such an environment and instead donated them to the Tate Modern, London. They are being displayed as Rothko wished, in a dark room. The lighting makes it easier to get lost in the color squares, because there is very little telling your senses where you're actually at. When I looked at some of the paintings, I felt like I was falling- kind of like alice.

***Note: I am having troubles uploading my rothko images. As it is very late, I will post the pictures later. If you're really curious, go to and do an image search on "rothko" Sorry!)***