Light & Dark Palette (Mark Rothko)


Isaac Luria would have liked these dark palette paintings by Mark Rothko now on view at Pace.  Against psychological interpretations of art, the point is to argue that there is no direct identity between an artist’s mental state and what appears on the canvas. You can read the article here at the NYT (from which I grabbed the photograph at the top of the post). Rothko is quoted there as having once quipped,  “Red, yellow, orange — aren’t those the colors of an inferno?” At Pace one walks into the gallery rooms. Overriding the first dark impressions, it takes only  little time for the eye to adjust. The optical dilation cracks open the dark shell as the paintings lighten up from inside and underneath the surface. The paintings pulse on the eye.

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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