June 5 – September 18, 2016, Lightcatcher Building
Guest-Curated by Amy Chaloupka
“Color stimulates certain moods in us. It awakens joy or fear in accordance with its configuration. In fact, the whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color. Our entire being is nourished by it. This mystic quality of color should likewise find expression in a work of art.” – Hans Hofmann
When it comes to the topic of color, everybody has an opinion. Typically the first question a child asks after “what is your name” is “what is your favorite color?” This is a critical question of identity for a child. Perhaps this is because before a child even comprehends or learns language, she is engaged in a world of color that speaks to her, loud and clear, with sensorial delight. For adults, color choices permeate every facet of daily life. Color belongs to the world of marketing and consumerism, science and optics, art and literature, psychology and nature. Home Depot does not own orange, nor does Coca-Cola claim rights to red, and we are not really “green with envy,” yet culture most certainly influences opinions and perceptions of color. The artists in this exhibition understand the elemental impact of color and wield it in their work with striking effect. Color does not always behave. It amplifies, it spills, and stains.
Contemporary artists Ashley V. Blalock (Calif.), Elizabeth Gahan (Wash.), Damien Gilley (Ore.), and Katy Stone (Wash.), create site-specific installations fueled by vivid color for the Lightcatcher this summer. With varied media and processes, color meets improvisation, and intuitive response meets open space in a co-mingling of movement, light, shadow, and striking hues. Viewers walk through, around, over, and under active fields of color. Much the way color is tied to memory, perception, and identity, we are enveloped by it. Color cannot be contained as installations escape the gallery, spilling into the hall and exterior spaces of the museum.
Foundationally, color field painters of the 1940s through 1960s came to view the expressive power of color as a primary mode of communication in their work. Artists like Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, and later Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, and Frank Stella, among others, abandoned figuration in their painting in favor of employing large swaths of color in harmonious combination and electric contrast in attempts to achieve the sublime. Color became both the subject and the object in their work.
The contemporary artists gathered here continue in this vein, likewise seeing color as elemental to their work, expanding the conversation to include not only painting but sculptural form, light, movement, texture, and shadow to amplify and transform the space. Each artist employs color as both a point of departure and point of reference in their work.
SEE THE INSTALLATIONS > The public is invited to view the artists installing their work, beginning May 19 until completion, through the second floor gallery balcony overlook (Damien Gilley’s installation will not be accessible during the installation process):
May 19 – 22 & 25 – 27: View Katy Stone’s installation from the second floor gallery balcony.
May 25 – 27: View Elizabeth Gahan’s installations indoors on the tall passageway wall in the Lightcatcher, and outside on the front entry of the building.
June 1 – 3: View Ashley Blalock’s installation from the second floor gallery balcony.
For related events and programming, visit our calendar.