“. . .the response is automatic, a spectacular impression of nothing. . .<Mark Rothko> resisted meanings. He was afraid words might trap the painting, so he abandoned using titles in the late 1940’s. He thought names might encourage a viewer’s mind to stop its imagination. At least that’s what I like to think. Rothko was right when he said “silence is so accurate.” It is better for me not to describe his paintings, because when I try, the keyboard just thuds out rocks.” ~ Ardith Louise Brown, describing her experience at a Rothko exhibition at London’s Tate Museum of Modern Art
I read the above on Facebook today. A comment with this image:
My cells excited.
I love color. Feel it as deeply as I feel life. Can see it where others don’t. Purple desert grass others see as brown, 50 shades of gray (couldn’t resist) in a cloudy day, values and hues, undertones and shade on shade. I’ve created paint colors for walls, can tell the color of an M&M when blindfolded by the feel in my mouth. White walls and white skies quickly drain me. Vibrant pictures and scenery no help. I particularly love color that’s layered and/or juxtaposed, one to the next.
In the early 80s a boyfriend introduced me to Mark Rothko’s work. A brilliant, offbeat longhaired chemistry professor who’d already introduced me to ‘O, Superman’ by the fabulous Laurie Anderson, and took me sailing with famous explorers, I’d grown accustomed to what I considered his unusual surprises. I remember actively wondering what he saw in the flat images on the posters and postcards he showed me. Years later, I saw my first Rothko on canvas. The work a spectacular impression of nothing but emotion and life – humanness – in nothing but color. It shocked me backwards, then pulled me in, arrested me on the spot.
As a writer my challenge and joy rests in experiencing the click inside that occurs when the right words drop into place, the right sentences align to conjure an image or idea that evokes a sensory experience, or recognition in a reader. My tools, words. And yet, I know what Mark Rothko means about silence. Sometimes to name is inadequate, to describe incomplete. Because that first painting, and each of his I’ve viewed since, call me to simply be, with no words. Silence, my most accurate container for all I experience – thoughts, emotions, discoveries, pleasure, grief, memories, recognitions, stories. So accurate.
Another journey in mindfulness. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
A secret: I used to be afraid to paint on paper
A favorite: Solitude