A conversation with the painting…
It depends on the extent of our depth to empathize with the painting.
The colors—the vibrant, eye-catching colors of different shades. Although a single closed shape, amongst several or another, on Rothko’s paintings typically consisted of a single color, there were shades upon the color—lights and darks that almost hinted at the absence or the presence of an object. This then led me to realize these blocks of color harbored meaning and depth—I could visually see the emotions and the distress that Rothko had felt in painting his works through layering hues upon hues, thinking and rethinking. The colors brought feeling—I empathized with the feelings of the colors of the paintings.
In every painting I imaged a landscape. Somewhere, I was stuck. The rich colors seemed to still, after a while. But there was no peace or calm. It was a silent rage.
And as Rothko had deemed it, he desired for his audience to feel basic human emotions. And upon viewing his artwork, I felt ecstatic because I could feel tragedy simply from a painting of shapes of various colors.
All in all, I think that when Rothko’s audience “burst into tears” at the sight of his paintings, it was due simply to the ecstasy the audience would feel at coming to realize that a painting was able to not only empathize, but feel their tragedy.