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Rothko No. 5 1964

March 29, 2010

From 26th September 2008 to February 1st 2009 the Tate Modern in London held an exhibition on the work of Mark Rothko. The seeming simplicity of his work hides a strong emotional undercurrent. I found myself staring at one piece in particular and spent all in all almost an hour in front of it. Below I’ve included a link to the panoramic tour from the Tate’s website. Unfortunately, the power of these large canvases is almost entirely lost when reproduced in books or online. So, if you get the chance to see them exhibited, Go.

See it in Room 5. Pan 90˚ left.

    Rothko No.5 1964
    A viscous fluid
    Collapsing over your eyes.
    Peering through
    an unadjusted darkness.
    Figures dance in the Velvet dark.

    My brow turns heavy
    Lost and comforted in a
    Mauve intemperate horizon.

    Gaze crawls up, defenceless
    And open.
    Marooned, unfocussed
    Immersed and focussed.

    I feel inclined to cut at it, rip.
    So no-one else can know.

    Like standing on the edge of a cliff.

In the weeks after my visit I painted a triptych of Cityscapes. The first in particular owes a large debt to Rothko.
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From → Art, Bad Poetry

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