• Reflections on the Spiritual in Rothko

      Arya, Rina (Brill Academic Publishers, 2016-01-01)
      Much has been made of the metaphysical aspects of Mark Rothko’s abstract art, especially his classic works of the 1950s and the Seagram murals. The claims for the spirituality of Rothko’s work are by no means unique either to his art or to art in general. Indeed there are many people who probe cultural forms, such as art, in order to reflect on life and broader questions that can be classed as spiritual concerns. The “revelations” that Rothko’s classic works give rise to, as described by visitors and commentators alike, reflect this phenomenon, and, taking this view further, explain why secular institutions such as art galleries can be spaces for spiritual experience. Rothko presents an interesting case as his work can be understood as spiritual in a broadly numinous way with recourse to the concepts of the sublime and the mystical as well as reflecting aspects of his Jewish identity. The intention of this article is to discuss the different spiritual aspects of Rothko’s work, particularly of his later career, in order to argue for the coexistence of these different strands, as well as to show the progression of his ideas.
    • Spirituality and Contemporary Art

      Arya, Rina; Burch Brown, Frank (Oxford University Press, 2016-08-31)
      The artworks under discussion detail the scope and breadth of art that can be described as spiritual by virtue of its revelatory, revitalizing and contemplative capacities. Rather than interrogating the relationship between art and religion, more pertinent questions in the contemporary age are: What is the nature of the dialogue between art and spirituality, how do the two come together, and what form does the meeting take? The range of multimedia brings novel forms of encounter that occur outside the gallery and other spaces and involve audio-visual and other means of articulating the spiritual. These new forms make different demands on viewers; they create greater intimacy (often through immersion), both physically and psychologically, and one of the consequences of having greater intimacy can be a heightened awareness that increases presentness and a sense of embodiment. What we learn is that there are potentially as many interpretations of spirituality as there are viewers.