Paintings from Sunset Series by Spence Munsinger, Color Field + Blank White Canvas + Realism + Contemporary Abstract Art, original paintings for sale

"I hate flowers - I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move. ”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

giving tactile values to retinal impressions


I’ve been reading Mark Rothko’s “An Artist’s Reality”. Rothko wrote this late-thirties, early-forties. He was a teacher, and that shows. It was not published until 2004. It’s a older style of writing than even the 30’s. It’s worth reading.

The writing is a high level look at art and purpose and the goal of painting. From this launching point ten years or so later he moved to painting color fields, and you can see from this written work how inevitable that was for him.

color field

This is a high level theory brought into relation to painting as it moved from space created via color (greying to recede, muted to recede) to linear perspective to color used to create mood to impressionism, dropping linear form and using color position, to abstract. It’s fun to read. Rothko thought alot about what he was doing and where he was intending it to go. He followed his path directly out of his beliefs about art. This manuscript, rough as it is, written before he had reached what would become his classic communications, expresses those exact beliefs.

The tensions and colors in Rothko’s work through the late forties and early fifties are very deliberate. They follow incremental steps toward the classic paintings of the fifties and sixties. There is a thin-ness in the paint used, a working through of the surface, that doesn’t come across in reproductions of the work, and which I did not see or understand looking at the work in the past.

One phrase from the book: “giving tactile values to retinal impressions”. Tactile, touch, emphasized as the primary sense – the eyes interpreting space as if it were touched and anticipating physical position.

kahn colors

All of this – Wolf Kahn’s color usage as revelation traced back through Rothko’s color fields, and Hans Hofmann as well, all of this is filling in for me a more concrete wording of what it is I want to accomplish. These realizations are directly worked into the sunset series so far. They are assisting in finding ways to communicate about painting, and my painting in particular.

— spence

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