Last night, Klaus Ottmann, director of the Center for the Study of Modern Art and curator at large, gave his talk Rothko and Color: A Two-Part Meditation to a packed house of 275 attendees. The auditorium was filled to capacity, standing room filled. Even our overflow seating outside of the auditorium was brimming, with people sitting on the floor and lining the walls. With our permanently installed Rothko Room, the special hanging at the National Gallery of Art, and the impending opening of John Logan’s play Red at Arena Stage, D.C. is fully embracing Mark Rothko’s exploration of the experience of color.
On a recent Spotlight Tour, Joseph Marioni’s bright canvases left many in the group cold. Responses ranged from a resolute “not interested” to a searching, “what do they add to the history of art?” Gallery Educator Alice Shih pointed out that, for some, Joseph Marioni‘s paintings may be best brought into focus by the work of other artists hanging nearby. Alice pointed out sight lines from Marioni to Matisse, to Kandinsky, and along a river of blues and pinks in Gene Davis, to Morris Louis, Adolph Gottlieb, diving into two deep blue Marionis a few galleries beyond.
Alice built further context through metaphor. She told us that the feeling of “egg yolk” pops into her head when she looks at a particular yellow painting by Marioni. (I see pollen, which leads me to the work of another artist recently at the Phillips).
Later I asked Alice if this kind of color association happens for her with other works by Marioni. She shared this list:
*Red Painting (2002): lava
*Yellow Painting, (2011): the song Good Day Sunshine by The Beatles
*Blue Painting (1995): the night sky (it has spotty moments when it could seem like stars)
Does Marioni’s work bring up particular memories, sensations, references, or metaphors for you? Please comment and let us know.
Cecilia Wichmann, Publicity and Marketing Manager
The new installation on the second floor–Eye to Eye: Joseph Marioni at the Phillips–is full of color.