Black, Black on Wine

7:00 AM

Mark Rothko, Black, Black on Wine, 1958
By MEGAN GANNON

Initially Black, Black on Wine looks like any other of Rothko's later works with black consuming the painting, pools of color around the edges and a rough line through the center. Hinting perhaps at his fear of the artistic and literal death by black displayed in Shama and Red.

Now take a second, let the painting pulse. Let the two vague black squares pulse against the delicate yet messy line in the middle. Look how the painting pulls the little line in and out of the darkness, allowing it to escape at the edges of the canvas. That messy delicate line represents us. Humans. The loosely shapen blacken shadows represent the pressures of society and the internal struggle within ourselves. Day by day we pulse between what society deems correct and with our own internal conflict. Some days the two agree in nice symmetry and others the two struggle to coexist. Rothko argues that the pressures consume us.


Transport yourself into the space between the shadows. Do you feel the anxiety? The rush in your blood, the pressure to succeed, to live. Didi and Gogo lacked purpose, but what happens when your subconscious argues over your purpose: pushing you in the way of society while simultaneously your mind pulls you in a completely different direction. What happens when the black shadows loom over you and your insides spill out the sides, trying to escape. The pigments bursting at the seams to overcome the pressures of society and ourselves.

Unfortunately we will not experience some explosion of technicolor freeing our little line, for us we exist between the black. Our own version of Sisyphus and his boulder.


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