A date with the masters
If I could ever swim inside a masterpiece, it would be Mark Rothko's painting No.14 1960. This painting is a dear friend of mine. It lives in the permanent collection of the SF Momma. Whenever I stand before this large painting, I become emotionally consumed by the large red-orange square and its velvety luminous surface. It reaches out to me, ever so gently, each time I observe this piece. Meanwhile, in the background, the dark, dense, indigo band pulls in and pushes out like a heartbeat. The eggplant color that surrounds the painting's perimeter gently frames it and allows my eyes to be captivated by its uniqueness. This painting is both simple and complex at the same time. It is warm and cold, it is loud and quiet. It is blissful, emotional, and timeless. Rothko is and was a genius with the brush.
My paintings haves always been full of color. I believe this to be true because of my deafness. When one of our senses is not 100 per cent, another sense will try to fill that void. In my case, my eyes helped compensate for my deafness. This is why color has always been music to my eyes. I am naturally drawn to color, so, when I discovered the work of Jessica Stockholder, Mary Weatherford, Don Dudley, and Norman Dudley, I was indeed thrilled.
Jessica Stockholder's painting, Just Sew 2009, imported me into a vibrant alter-like room filled with colorful found objects. Shower curtains, hardware, tables and carpets were all arranged in an artful assemblage of color.
Mary Weatherford, High at Windansea 1963, literally created a pool of water for me to splash into with a neon tube light to rescue me from the blissful blue storm.
Don Dudley, Rainbow Series 1964, gave me the landscape to try and catch my breath, as I wondered where the extremely colorful rainbow ends or begins as the deep red sun settles in the distance.
Norman Zammitt, Blue Burning 1982, transported me to the edge of the Earth, where there was no end and no beginning. From afar this masterpiece evokes an endless sky. Zammitt himself said, “One can learn a lot about light and color from watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean and filter through the atmosphere,” and “I was trying to understand what was going on up there in the sky, and down here on my palette. I wanted to unify them. To make light with paint.”
Color is the door into an artist's sole. It is a huge compliment to the artist when someone experiences whatever the artist is trying to convey through color. As an artist, I can only hope that my journey with color will, someday, translate as beautifully and as clearly as the masterpieces I saw today.