This is one of the most valued paintings byMark Rothko, a work he painted in 1954 and which is currently part of theWashington Phillips Collection.
As so often happens with the works of Rothko, and even less so before a digital screen. The splendor of the work can only be appreciated when we physically place ourselves before the canvas. It is then when it is understood that it is a painting that inevitably attracts the viewer's gaze. Until sinking into its colors, almost burning in this vibrant painting, whose full title is as colorful as it is explicit: Ochre, red on red.
And how does the artist achieve these sensations. Precisely for what he is criticized by those less interested in abstract avant-garde art. The criticism is that there is no image in the painting. It can be said that it is a void, and that simply invites the viewer to that, to contemplate it. The mistake is trying to reason with him. It is not about understanding it but about feeling it.
Observing it calmly is when the painting takes on its full dimension. It looks like the colored rectangles overlap, as if floating one above the other. They float and also tend to sink into each other, towards the center. And that draws the viewer's gaze even more.
The absence of lines is also appreciated, despite the fact that the work is clearly inspired by geometry. However, here there is onlycolor, colors that melt into each other or disappear into each other, without any break.
To all that immersion in Rothko's painting and to that simple pleasure of contemplating and letting go, the size of the work certainly helps. Which has considerable dimensions. In fact, it is larger than any viewer looking at it, as the oil painted canvas measures 235 x 162 cm.
Colour, light, size are all ingredients for the experience that Rothko proposes. And to that is added the permanent appetite to play the work. And it is that the works of this author have often been called dyes, not paintings, given the tactile quality that his technique has. A very particular technique that basically consisted of impregnating the canvases. To do this, he was making large glazes of color with very diluted layers, which he then further attenuated by rubbing rags over them. A slow job, but it made the paint penetrate the canvas and in the end they formed a single material.