Rectangles and Blue

Mar 21, 2010

One of the things I love most about abstract art is the way its world is rendered in shapes and colors. We get to fill in the particulars, imagine the story or transcend the figurative. I remember once standing in front of a Rothko painting with Shanna.

“I don’t get it,” I said. “It’s a black canvas.”

“Yes,” she said. “But actually look at the paint on the canvas.”

I stepped closer, and suddenly I was looking into a painting instead of at a picture.

I know this is just a photograph of a gas pump. But somewhere in my hamfisted grasp at modern composition, somewhere in my attempt at deconstructing the world into rectangles and blue is a nod to Rothko’s revolutionary painting technique. It is in the spirit of what Walt Whitman wrote here:

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass–the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women,
and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.

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