Rothko's Edges

When I think of Rothko I think of rectangles. Big rectangles, because his paintings are huge, often eight feet high or so. Here we have yellow and red/orange rectangles -- except for the fact that they aren't technically rectangles: most of the corners aren't 90 degrees. More interesting to me is that the edges, the boundaries, aren't clean and hard. When I viewed some Rothkos at the Harvard Art Museums a few weeks ago it was clear that his all edges were meticulously blended. Not only does this give the shapes a floating feeling, but it makes the shapes both distinct and indistinct at once. These rectangles are like all our categories, then, insofar as they are blurred around the edges. Night and day are real, but where is the boundary between them? No one can say.


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