"Color in a way is a receptacle for a feeling and a way for you to hold it until understanding arrives," according to Sam Francis. From the color of our cars to the colors we choose to wear, one thing is certain: our preferences are personal. Many of us have opinions about color, whether it involves selecting a range of hues for the walls in our homes or deciding on the appropriate scheme for a company logo. Treatises have been written on the psychology and spirituality of color, and theories abound on how colors are named or created. For artists, the choices to use color are no different than the choices we make about color in our daily lives. Color may be a vehicle for pure pleasure; for shaping the rhythm of a composition; or for invoking a particular emotional tone or volume.
Local Color, an exhibition drawn from the Museum's permanent collection, explores the primacy of color in works that range from Alexander Calder's whimsical mobiles to Elmer Bischoff's luscious, light-filled canvases to David Levinthal's slick, saturated photographs of Barbie dolls. Also featured are works in which artists considered the quiet, tonal nuances of black and white.
This exhibition encourages viewers to look at color as content. How does color affect the intuitive experience of a work of art? What are some of the ways artists use color as the subject of their work?
In Barbara Takenaga's hypnotic painting Wheel (SJ) (2011), abstract patterns of circles, spirals, and pinwheels may recall star-filled galaxies or psychedelic visions. Takenaga employed a modest palette of blue, gray, and black to intense effect. Sam Tchakalian took a different approach in his painting Hole in One (ca. 1990), in which his limited selection of blue-green, gray, and white alludes to the glossy, sunlit surface of a lake or pool. Tchakalian's watery reference produces a sensation of respite and calm.
This exhibition also includes work by Josef Albers, Fletcher Benton, Ellen Carey, Mary Corse, Tony DeLap, Sam Francis, Sonia Gechtoff, James Hayward, Paul Jenkins, Amy Kaufman, Markus Linnenbrink, Nathan Oliveira, Raimonds Strapans, Amy Trachtenberg, and Patrick Wilson, among others.
This exhibition is sponsored by Doris and Alan Burgess.