Friday, April 17, 2009

Mysteries At The Gauzy Juncture Of Light And Night

Fig. 1. Mark Rothko - The Rothko Chapel, 1964-71 (Houston, Texas)

'Light, as the medium in which we perceive objects, is often regarded atmospherically as a veil. The continual overlays of thin washes in Rothko, which produce his glimmering and flaring lights, are like veils. Veil imagery is traditional in revelatory art. The only way that mysteries can be presented in art, as Pico della Mirandola, for one, argued, is by veils or symbols. The rhetoric of veils and secreted mystery is implicit in Rothko, and is one source of that feeling which his work has of carrying a momentous but illusive [sic] subject. It is the peril of veil- and symbol-users that the veil or symbol becomes substantial and beautiful in its own right, thus interposing its form before that of the mystery it is supposed to serve. In Rothko the veils have solidified and become the substance of the mystery. His is an art in which traditional forms of mystery and sublimity have been retained (obliquely, and even subliminally). Radiance and solemnity have an iconography, and Rothko, as a result of his desire for an art of calm and violence ("tranquility tinged with Terror," to quote Burke) has repossessed certain past themes of art on his own terms.'

Lawrence Alloway (from The American Sublime)

Your Ears Will Orgasm #56: Philip Glass - Trial 1, Entrance (from Einstein on the Beach) (MixPod Player)