Next month, Ciel Gallery will host “Skew the Masters,” in which gallery partners and members will show their own interpretation of some famous (and infamous) art. This is a fantastic, mind-bending and talent-stretching exercise for the artists, which gets all of us pretty excited and enthusiastic!
I chose Mark Rothko for my skewing adventure, and created a series of three (want to see the other two? Come to the show!) Rothko is perhaps best known for his abstract blocks of color. But I was drawn in by his subway characters (picture left), who felt to me almost a little like something out of an Edward Gorey book…mysterious and perhaps a little bit eerie. This makes sense given Rothko’s interest in mythology (Rothko considered himself a “myth maker”).
For this piece, my inspiration came from Rothko’s “Homage to Matisse” (the basis for the underlying blocks of color) and the person on the far left in his subway painting. From a distance, it appears to be a woman waiting with a large package, properly dressed and demure. But closer inspection revealed an almost haunting specter, woman of mystery, a person whose story I wanted to know.
Using collage and paint to build layers of half-revealed patterns and type, this woman became more and more complex and interesting to me as the process went on. I don’t usually love my own work (who does?) but this particular piece I really, really like. I’ve been reading a book on archetypes, and this woman seems archetypal to me in a big way. Rothko wanted to represent the “archetypes of the collective unconscious” and with his subway characters, I feel completely drawn in to the magic he created. So I ask - are you drawn in?
This piece is available. Framed. Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen Walls and her imaJENation