Like many New York artists of his generation, Rothko struggled with categorical distinctions between abstraction and representation and his ambition to invest nonfigurative art with transcendent
content that would rival the elemental role of myth and ritual in archaic culture. In this regard, "unknown" pictorial space describes a realm that somehow surpasses two dimensions while avoiding
the illusive three-dimensional space of conventional representation.
Rothko largely abandoned conventional titles in 1947, sometimes resorting to numbers or colors in order to distinguish one work from another. The artist also now resisted explaining the meaning
of his work. "Silence is so accurate," he said, fearing that words would only paralyze the viewer's mind and imagination.