Mark Rothko’s earlier, Surrealist compositions, Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea, and Hierarchical Birds, 1944, really resonated with me as I immersed myself in his work of that period. I was drawn in by the biomorphic forms and varied influences: cubism, surrealism, and an admitted “kinship with primitive and archaic art”, influences that I share. I was fascinated with his handling of materials, the roving of the eye as it travels over the image, sensing the opening of a wing, the dripping of water from feathers. The push and pull of the cool blue water and slate sky against the golden ground almost feels like warm sand sifting through your hands. His palette and the emotional surge of his work have informed these pieces, after a photo taken by Jerome Pollos.
I really admire Rothko’s desire to evoke a powerful emotional response in his viewers, by providing a universe that would otherwise be inaccessible. Although he sought to accomplish this end with his mature, purely abstract work, there is a powerful solitary, introspective quality in these early dream-like paintings. There seems to be a spiritual seeking, along with an archaic, mythological connection in his soft, ethereal dreamscapes; that is what I wanted to replicate.