Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Representational art, realism, abstraction, expressionism, and many many more.

I didn't do any sketching over the holidays, but I finished the Rothko book.  I've been thinking alot about the relationship between representational art and what artists like Rothko were attempting to achieve. 
In the end I don't think it matters at all whether the work is representational or not.  Rothko would say that what matters is whether the work expresses basic human emotions.  In fact, he denied that his works were abstract (or that he was an abstract expressionist).  He stated in an interview in 1952 that "abstract art never interested me; I always painted realistically....  When I thought symbols were [the best means of conveying meaning] I used them.  When I felt figures were, I used them."  On the subject of portraiture, Rothko observed that "the real essence of the great portraiture of all time is the artist's eternal interest in the human figure, character and emotions--in short, in the human drama.  That Rembrandt expressed it by posing a sitter is irrelevant.  We do not know about the sitter but we are intensely aware of the drama....  What is indicated here is that the artist's real model is an ideal which embraces all of human drama rather than the appearance of a particular individual....Freed from the need of describing a particular person, the possibilities are endless.  The whole of man's experience becomes his model, and in that sense it can be said that all of art is a portrait of an idea."

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