I lived in London recently before moving back to the relative silence and stillness of the North of England. Through the bustle of the City I would walk; the sounds of sirens calling and the speed of pushing passers-by making one retreat into the self, fleeing from the alien sights and sounds surrounding me I would cross the river and enter the Tate Modern at Bankside then ride the escalator up to the Seagram murals by Mark Rothko. In the room an aura of the numinous rises and the air vibrates with transcendent energy. The senses rise within this sacred space created within the museum through the ethereality of the works that embrace and surround the viewer. The colour vibrates on the surface of the huge canvases in pools of rising light. A number of people always sit absorbed in contemplation on the wooden benches placed strategically within the room. In my inner eye the paintings are doorways to an ‘Other’ place. They invite the soul to walk through and call to the inner Self through the liminal gateway. They are created from a primal sensibility that talks about being and recalls the archaic presence of megalithic standing stones permeated with a deep ancient knowing. Within the space of the works together is a sense of the cosmic that unites the flow and flux from silence to noise and from energy to stillness. It is the space of deep meditation when the chattering finally fades away what is left is all the silence and all the potential dissonance of the universe.
Now sat here talking to the world outside of the room and connected through the digital media of screens and wires I recall that space and the simple image of the Buddhist monk deep in meditation in Rothko’s Chapel in Houston USA. Here he sits, in a dedicated “sacred space open to all every day to provide a place of worship, meditation and prayer for persons of all faiths” as if beholding and holding the whole chanigng, moving, flowing manifestation of life in the fields of colour before him.
This link is to the art blog by Jonathan Jones of The Guardian newspaper UK a discussion that builds supports the pilgrimages that I would make to the hallowed fields of colour to tread the threshold between ordinary and cosmic consciousness.
Text © Rob Burton. Rob Burton is an artist and writer on the arts and consciousness and is currently working on publishing critical and theoretical texts on the artist as the mediator of the transpersonal. Please contact Embodied.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.