Lately I have developed a fascination and love for bold, beautiful color combinations—not delicate and detailed designs or textures, but big simple shapes.
Joseph Albers and Mark Rothko are the epitome of color blocks, mastering the stroke of large vibrant lines. I fell in love with Albers over a year ago in a modern design class. This year I discovered Mark Rothko. As I researched the timeline of his life and work I learned how closely it paralleled Albers’.
Joseph Albers was Bauhaus trained, and applied a very disciplined approach to his compositions. This explains the hundreds of paintings comprising his Homage to the Square series begun in 1949. The abstract series contained paintings and prints exploring the chromatic interactions of colored squares. His work is bold, simple, and exciting.
Mark Rothko also established a very specific style in the world of art. Known for his use of color and form, Rothko compared modern art to the art of children, saying that “child art transforms itself into primitivism, which is only the child producing a mimicry of himself.” By 1949 this idea evolved into his popular collection of multiforms, symmetrical rectangular blocks of two or three contrasting, yet complementary colors. His images seem to rise from both the bottom and sides of the painting simultaneously.
Both these incredible artists came to the pinnacle of their design careers in 1949. Each produced a series of colorful art that now influences and inspires generations. Perhaps it is my child-like mind that finds pleasure in the simplicity of color and shape, but the work of these artists really resonates with me.