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- PressCambridge Artist receives Gottlieb Grant April 11, 2011, CAMBRIDGE, NEW YORK Artist Leslie Parke has recently been awarded a $25,000 Individual Support Grant from the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation of New York, honoring her extensive career as a professional painter. This grant is awarded each year to twelve artists worldwide who have devoted their lives to developing their art and have maintained a mature intellectual, technical and creative artistic development for a minimum of 20 years. “Making art is a way for me to both experience and comment on exiting art,” says Parke. “My early work was all about appropriation, working with images from Matisse, Ingres and Giotto. Now art historical references are just the filter through which I see the world.” In her current series, Parke creates abstract compositions from real subject matter, drawn from life. Her subjects – water, trees, crystal, china, recycled bales of paper and cans – become vehicles for shape, color, space and light. She employs monumental scale, all-over composition, and gestures that assert the surface of the painting. Painted in oil on linen or canvas, some as large as 60? x 70?, her paintings,…
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Last night at the Dorset Theater Festival, I saw Red, the John Logan play about Mark Rothko with Tim Daly as Rothko and Charles Socarides as Rothko’s assistant. This is the second time I have seen this play, the first time being some months ago at the Capital Rep in Albany with Kevin Maguire playing Rothko and David Kenner playing his assistant. Kevin is a good friend and I was mostly interested in how he might embody Rothko. He took the route of assuming his physicality and Russian accent, Tim Daly, who is tall and thin with plenty of hair (not exactly Rothko’s body double), for me, created the artist’s mind. The experience of the play was completely different. This time with Daly I followed his every painting reference. This is so how painter’s talk — this painting leads to that, this painting is the reason that that painting is important, or this painting completely overturns the relevance and meaning of that painting. It made me wonder what it was like to see this play if you didn’t know all the references. So, with what I can recall of last night’s dialog, I have put together a little cheat sheet for anyone who wants to know what the lines refer to.
In 1958, Rothko was commissioned to do a series of paintings for The Four Season’s Restaurant, in the new Seagram building designed German architect Meis van der Rohe (or as my ex-German boyfriend liked to call him — Meis van der Boring) with the interior space, including The Four Season’s Restaurant, designed by Philip Johnson of The Glass House fame.
Rothko asks Ken if Sidney sent him. That was Rothko’s dealer Sidney Janis:
He asks Ken who his favorite artist is and Ken answers Jackson Pollock.
Later Rothko talks about Pollock’s fatal car accident being a suicide:
Rothko asks again, who is Ken’s favorite artist and he replies Picasso (who was still alive when this play takes place):
Rothko talks about Matisse’s “Red Studio” being the inspiration for the Seagram murals:
And the stairway and space in a library designed by Michelangelo creating a space he envisions for his paintings:
Then he makes reference to a painting in a dark corner of a church by Caravaggio and how without any light on it, Caravaggio made the light emanate from within the painting. I don’t know the specific Caravaggio, but he managed to have that emanating light in most of his work:
He also talks about the light emanating from the Hebrew letters in this painting at the National Gallery in London by Rembrandt:
And the importance of Goya:
Rothko talks about his peers, de Kooning, Barnett Newman and Motherwell:
And finally he rails against the “young bucks”, Jasper Johns, Warhol, Frank Stella, Rauchenberg and that “cartoon painter” Roy Lichtenstein:
Ken tries to counter Rothko’s despair about, “One day the black will swallow the red.” by bringing up the late Matisse cutouts and Van Gogh’s colorful last painting:
In the end, it seems that the black swallows the red:
If you go:
June 18th-July 6th
Dorset Theater Festival
Box Office/ Administrative Office:
P.O. Box 510
Dorset, Vermont 05251