Art: An Introduction

We asked the acclaimed author and journalist, Andrew Mitrovica to introduce TRAVIS’ art showcase. In March/April’s Showcase Issue, we set aside 12 pages, to showcase some 35 pieces of art by Sheridan College students. For more (stellar) student art, please go here.

I WAS IN NEW YORK recently to visit a dear friend who was dying. I was having a hard and bad day. I needed to go somewhere to be alone and to think. So, I went to the Museum of Modern Art. I know, it’s hardly the place to be alone. The museum was teeming with tourists like me. But I did find some peace, respite and comfort there.

Click here to view the print edition with all the art.

Click here to view the print edition with all the art.

I went to the museum’s second floor, where I rediscovered the most humane artist I have ever encountered – the American, Mark Rothko. While I was standing there, looking at his mesmerizing work, I remembered something that Rothko once said about his art.

“I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of colour or form or anything else,” Rothko said. “I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom and so on.”

I might as well have been the only person in that bustling museum that afternoon; such was the power of Rothko’s imagination and his singular ability to give shape and form to the kind of emotions that were racing through my mind, heart and soul on that day, at that moment.

I stood there for a long time. Slowly, the buzz of the tourists seemed to turn to silence. The people around me seemed to vanish like ghosts. I had the sensation of being pulled by some invisible magnet into Rothko’s canvas. It was irresistible. I gave into the lure. It was an extraordinary, some might say, religious experience. I began to cry. I think that’s precisely what Rothko intended for me and anyone else who has had the pleasure and privilege to look at his art.

Rothko was right.

Art is about expressing basic human emotions. I suppose, indeed, I hope, that the artists on display in this special and important issue of TRAVIS share a fidelity to Rothko’s admonition about the purpose of art. If they do, we are in for a memorable, humane experience.

text by andrewmitrovica, associate editor

View the full set of art here.

View the full set of art here.

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