Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some thoughts on color

At the risk of sounding too general, I’m going to assert that color is the most immediate thing that people respond to when looking at paintings– consciously or subconsciously, and it's often the first thing that gets commented on. (Subject matter and technical ability probably tie for second.) Admittedly, I didn’t do any research that can back this statement up, so I’m open to debate on the topic.

The use of color within a painting is akin to the use of melody in a song. Every painting uses pigment in some way. Every song has some sort of melodic structure.

That being said, I think that to base an exhibition strictly around color is a tough thing to do given it's broad range, but the Asheville Art Museum has taken on the challenge with their newest exhibition, Color Study. The exhibit juxtaposes local artists alongside modern art masters and there some brilliant paintings in this show like Nava Lubelski’s stunning Chance of Flurries and Constance Humphries gestural painting, Swing.

I tend to think the exhibit strays a bit from its initial concept, and it could have offered more challenging explorations of color. It’s surprising that not a single piece by Josef Albers is included in the show given the fact that Albers literally wrote the book on color -- Interaction of Color.

Nevertheless, as I wrote in this article for the Mountain Xpress, Color Study is an excellent primer for those who have never contemplated the use of color in art, and there are some wonderful pieces on display that should not go unseen.

Color Study will be on display at The Asheville Art Museum until November 6th.

1 comment:

A Place for Artists said...

I agree with your comments about the confusing focus of the show. I was expecting paintings that sang color, and intead saw a show of contemporary abstract work that went from fiber work to studys in gray to texture with some color thrown in. I was very disappointed that the museum fail to list the names of the local artists on the web site or in any kind of printed guide with short bios and artist contact information. In fact I believe the only clue as to who the local artists are is the "collection of the artist" notations on the tags. This could have been a wonderful opportunity for the museum to showcase artists early on who might go down in the history books, not to mention acknowledging the artists who participated in the show. I asked at the front dest for a list of artists in the show, and there was a bit of dithering, what a concept that this might be available!! I thing this illustrates the disconnect between the institution and the artist!