Recently while walking through a Rothko retrospective with a friend in Houston, she said, "Break Free!" I was so moved by the expression, I went back to look. "Did he name that one?" I'd observed that Rothko traditionally used numbers not titles for his large, multiform works. "No", she said and smiled. " I made the title up."
This is the art experience! Blocks of translucent color evoking an alchemy of a souls code. A form that speaks a title. A connection made in which we aren't even sure why we feel the way we do. We just feel. Canvases so large with layered color they evoke an urge to step into them. As much a poet with words as color, Rothko expressed this sentiment describing his large works in the 1940's.
These paintings by Rothko, it has been said, allowed the artist to be improvisational. The minute I read this I couldn't believe my eyes. I'd just written a first draft of this email on improvisation and art.
The origin of this stems from recently seeing majestic owls and hawks perched on top of industrial light posts. It's as if they use the metal trees to their advantage, adapting to the imposed intervention of human construction.
This made me think about improvisation and how we use it in our lives, particularly in our creative lives. I think when making-do , despite the absence of resources, there's a transcendent creative moment. I truly believe creativity is all about adapting. It's the spills, slip of the brush, crack of the bisque in the kiln or the unplanned break with the chisel when our art expands its wings like those glorious birds.
"Break free!", my friend said,
"Break free!" - Joan