It's so rare yet so rewarding when you're afforded the opportunity to see what paths an artist takes to get to his or her well-known works. Most people know Mark Rothko for his stark yet emotive canvasses that with just a few blocks of color capture myriad emotions. The Columbus Museum of Art's blockbuster new exhibit, Rothko: The Decisive Decade, which opened Feb. 1, takes you on Rothko's journey from literal figures to those iconic pieces over the course of the decade stretching between 1940 and 1950.

Expertly curated, the exhibit fills four galleries with 37 Rothko paintings and several more from artists he influenced, like Jackson Pollock. The first gallery houses his more literal paintings - you see human forms in his earliest work, dissected human forms are a little later, and then mere suggestions of figures. Color becomes a more important medium of expressing emotion. In the third room, Rothko's most well known style - remarkable for its simplicity and the power of the raw emotions they bear. 

In conjunction with the Rothko: The Decisive Decade, CATCO is presenting Reda two-man play based on the creative process of Mark Rothko. Red is presented at Studio One in the Riffe Center, runs from Feb. 13 - March 3, and stars Experience Columbus Tim Simeone as Mark Rothko's assistant Ken.

The exhibit runs until May 27, and there is no additional cost, but you'll want to check it out much sooner than that!