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Rothko-Style Artists

Mark Rothko was born Marcus Rothkowitz in Dvinsk, Russia in 1903 and immigrated to the United States at age 10. By the late 1920s, he was living in New York and met the modernist painter Milton Avery, whose simplified and colorful depictions of domestic subjects had a profound influence on Rothko's early development. In 1929, Rothko began teaching children which allowed him to admire children's art and adopt a style of deliberate deformations and crude applications of paint. This stressed an emotional approach to his subject – whether that be a street scene or indeed an interior with figures. Rothko ultimately took the focus away from the character within his works, using the figure to simply establish scale or as if to exist solely to inhabit the border that separates real and pictorial space. By projecting the imprint of philosophy, art history, and the human experience into visual form, Rothko incorporated both chance and control while painting with a physical immediacy and gesture. This later diverged off into chromatic abstraction, and the mantle of coloristic paintings by Mark Rothko has been taken up by the likes of Pieter Vermeersch and Frédérique Barba who continue the conversation about emotion and what lies beyond the surface of the painting, and how the experience of color can help us find our way there.

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