Mark Rothko called this painting Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea. Do you see anything in this painting that reminds of you of the seaside? Rothko painted this scene from his imagination because, for him, art was “an adventure into an unknown world.” If you were going to make a picture of an imaginary world, what would you include?
Gallery label from 2019 for kids
Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea pictures two creatures dancing between sea and sky, surrounded by arabesques, spirals, and stripes. The forms “have no direct association with any particular visible experience, but in them one recognizes the principle and passion of organisms,” Rothko said. For him art was “an adventure into an unknown world”; like the Surrealists before him, Rothko looked inward, to his own unconscious mind, for inspiration and material for his work.
Gallery label from Abstract Expressionist New York, October 3, 2010-April 25, 2011