This week, we began our last project of the year by learning about Abstract Impressionism and specifically, Mark Rothko's work.
We listed to a recording of Christopher Rothko talk about how his father painted. I asked the students what struck them as unusual or interesting about Mark Rothko's technique. They thought it was interesting that he laid his canvases out on blocks and used a pulley system to move it up and down. He also painted from all angles, sometimes moving the painting different ways, so that people weren't sure where the top and bottom were, as the paint drippings were going in all sorts of different directions.
We then viewed a powerpoint presentation to further discuss Rothko's work and get some insight into what Abstract Impressionism is. Abstract Impressionism was an art movement in the 1940's and 50's, and arose after World War II. Many people refer to Abstract Impressionism as "action painting", with artists of the movement depicting strong emotion or expression. Mark Rothko tried to express some of his feelings and emotion in his work, by using large blocks of color, and line.
Students worked in groups brainstorming emotive and expressive words that came to mind while viewing Rothko's work. Each table in the class got a print of one of his color block paintings and a stack of Post-It Notes. Each student was to come up with 3 or 4 descriptive words for their particular painting.
Here are some of the more notable descriptive words students came up with:
Next week, we'll start a collage using tissue paper and illustration board depicting expression and emotion in an abstract manner. See you then!