Tuesday, June 15, 2010

RED




untitled. mark rothko. sold at auction on may 12, 2010. $31,442,500.


I had the opportunity to see Red on Broadway. It recreates a period in time when Rothko was commissioned to create a series of canvases for the soon to be opened Four Season's restaurant in New York City. The story is told through the often fiery relationship between Rothko and his assistant, also a painter.

I was mesmerized as the story unfolded, certainly by the dialogue but especially by the set and the action. The entire play takes place in Rothko's studio, a paint splattered, cavernous space with no natural light. Some of the most intense and effective scenes took place in silence, as when the actors gracefully moved and hung the large canvases. And the peak moment for me was when the two men together primed a single canvas with blood-red primer, in a perfectly choreographed, athletically inspired, and creatively charged moment of artistic passion. I left the theatre eager to paint, which I thought was probably the best review I could give the show.


In thinking about Red, I realized that this was a color I rarely use in my artwork. Every so often it becomes a small accent. But I had to look back, all the way to 2008, to find the one and only piece I have made that is predominantly red in color. And how funny that "Harmony" also happens to be the first artwork I sold in my Etsy shop.

32 comments:

Dyche Designs said...

Two of my most favorite things, the color RED and Mark Rothko. I'm a huge fan of his work and have seen it in both London and Washington DC. :0)

Sharmon Davidson said...

The play sounds wonderful! I'm not a huge fan of Rothko, but anything that gives insight into the artistic process fascinates me. And I absolutely love your red piece! Is there any chance I could get a print?

Art said...

And Red just won a Tony! I really want to see it soon. Lucky you!

Maureen said...

I, too, saw Red (last month). I don't think I could imagine anyone other than Molina in the role of Rothko.The canvas-painting scene is one of the most memorably staged scenes I've ever seen.

The East Wing of the National Gallery of Art here in Washington, D.C., has been showing Rothko's black paintings. I wrote about them on my blog.

Jill Z said...

What a great post! I too saw the play Red and felt absolutely the same way toward that amazing scene. Was just at the Museum of Modern Art and saw Rothko's Reds as well as about 5 other paintings of his- a few in such different styles that without seeing his name on them, I wouldn't have thought they were his! As the blessed and proud owner of your "Harmony" piece,I must say it is beautiful - for its colors, myriad of such interesting patterned designs and unique fine lines within. The different combinations blend so well together- creating such a magical and wonderful synergistic harmony to put a smile on my face!

Evangeline said...

Thank you for this! I don't get out much these days, if you don't count grocery shopping and kid-related activities, so I appreciate the review and you passing along your inspiration!

Bea said...

Love Red, love your Harmony, can't wait to see that Play. Don't really know anything about Rothko so I'm off to google him. Thanks for a great post as always, Seth. :)Bea

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Thanks Seth for a great report of the play. I can see them painting in my mind. Red is a color I dance with, but seldom more than a splash or drip. Its so powerful.

lyle baxter said...

Fantastic! I knew I enjoyed rothko's work but I'd be hard pressed to come up with all those $$$. I believe I like your "Red" much better! thanks for showing us!

mansuetude said...

Admit I was attracted by the color red. The play sounds intense. Red is intense. So ironically is harmony, when all that inner energy rides on effect balace within.

mansuetude said...

Effect

should read "perfect".

(commenting with iPod oops

Coastcard said...

I'm a 'blue' person when it comes to favo(u)rites, but red is second on my list. Interesting post, Seth.

lynne h said...

wow, both rothko's and your piece grab me, seth... seeing the rothko in my sidebar, i was drawn here like a moth to a candle...

La Dolce Vita said...

just recently read the review about this play and it said Molina was great, sounds like it was very thought provoking for you. I too, rarely use red, it conveys such energy and power, I think I like to reserve it for the PERFECT moment!

deemallon said...

I was intrigued by the reviews of the play and therefore interested in your response... amazing that the silent parts were among the most moving (although maybe not for a story about an artist?)... perhaps it is time to use more red?

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a Rothko in person as I don't appreciate his work and maybe that it why. Your post has inspired me to also use red in something soon as I too, hardly ever do.

Chris said...

Thank you for this information about Rothko.

I love your Harmony piece. I don't rmember seeing it before. I like it a lot!

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

I'm instantly drawn to red although it's often little more than an accent in my own work. I love the red painting and the 'report' of the show you saw. Wish I was there! Your own red piece I found interesting because red can be anything but harmonious...but here it seems lively and playful and the two do sit together in harmony.

Brian K said...

Hmmm may need to come to NY again and see the play... Love RED...hmmmm

rivergardenstudio said...

Wow Seth, this play sounds amazing. I WILL see it someday. And Rothko, and red, all together here.
I love to paint with all the warm colors, they feed my soul. Your thoughts on RED are very thought provoking. roxanne

Lynn said...

Are you aware how much Harmony looks like an art quilt?

Dayna Collins said...

Thanks for the synposis of RED - sounds like a play I would love to see (if only I weren't on the west coast!).

Kathleen Harrington said...

Thanks for the review of Red, Seth. Rothko is my favorite artist. Had no idea there was a play about his works. Hope it comes to the West Coast soon. Your Harmony work is very eye-catching. I'm going to try something red this week, Mr. Inspiration. :)

Karen Cole said...

Whoa......thanks for waking me up. I LOVE red.

I love how you went back and looked at all of your work to see how you have used it.

I am intending to see it next week, as a matter of fact. Looking forward to it.
Hope you are well and happy, Seth. By paging down, I see you are as busy as ever.

-K

Marit said...

Aaahhh, Mark Rothko! Just mentioned him in my online workshop... such an inspiring artist! The play sounds awesome and I love your red!!! Maybe you should try some red again? See how it moves you?!

ArtPropelled said...

I believe one feels the power of a Rothko when face to face. Something i havn't had the opportunity of doing .... yet.

patq said...

loved your "RED" picture. It looks like many many layers were layered on, then painted over with patterns, color and words? I love it.
patq

oneartistjournal said...

Love Rothko, love 'Harmony' and thank you for a fascinating review. XOXOrly....I wish I could see it..
BTW...Love reds....all kind of reds, pink reds, orange reds...reds reds...and I love seeing them all mingle on one surface..

Outside The Lines said...

I think the color red is one of many meanings...seems like it is either loved or hated by some. I always think of cool colors when working, but somehow I have used red and have found it has inspired my creativity. Rothko is a favorite, and he grew up here in Portland, Oregon. Sounds like a fun play!

Mar said...

i LOVE red...little splashes here and there...or lots
it makes a painting become totally different...same with glass a little splash of red...the whole tone feels different...love red!

i would probably like this play...but i definitley need to investigate the painter
thanks for sharing!!

deb said...

have you seen the simon schama, power of art documentary on Rothko, it is excellent, it even converted a few of my students who thought colour field painting was rubbish! I love Rothko, tho I couldn't tell you why, they speak to me so loudly it is almost deafening!! Oh how wonderful it would be to own one...

Barbara Kleinhans said...

Glad you got to see the show. Wish SF wasn't so far away from NY. Oh well...at least I can go see the Impressionists show at the DeYoung for the third time!