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Posts Tagged ‘red’

17feb1redyelbl

Blue is theoretically a color that recedes.  Red, of course, comes forward and announces itself as the boss.

In this painting, how does that little sliver of blue on the left manage to hold its own against that huge red in this painting? One, it’s striped and stripes are aggressive. (Look at sports and military uniform: stripes rule.)  Two, it’s at the edge of the painting and edges convey tension. (Tension demands attention because, well, because tension is uncomfortable.)

Painting in acrylic by Susan Bennett, 36” x 36”.

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BubbleWrapYellowRip
Well, we don’t know. Is the Yellow on top of the Black? Or was the Yellow there first and then the Black invaded, covering most of the canvas and leaving some Yellow? Enter into the painting, let it fool you, one way, then the next. There’s no solution and that fact is the source of pleasure.
The other surfaces are clear, either on top or on the bottom. The Blue is on top of the Red and the white dots (printed with bubble wrap) are on top, in fact topmost. And all of these are on top of Black.
Whether you notice the Yellow-Black puzzle first or you look at the Blue-Red-White issues first, you immediately get the point: what’s-on- top is the game here. Some of this game will let you win, but the Yellow-Black part will leave you dangling and that’s your reward.

Painting in acrylic, about 24×24, by Maria Palacios.
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15JanuaryBigBlueFinal
Here’s a painting where every part is on first. By that I mean, every part is important and interesting. Nothing is “just” background. This is counter-intuitive and that’s precisely what makes this painting so wonderful to contemplate.
15JanuaryBigBlueFinalNumbersThe large blue trapezoid (#1) appears to be on top of everything. But blue is a receding color.
Red (#2) is a forward color but it’s placed in the second tier.
The confetti strip on the top (#3) is spatially behind everything, but it jumps out at you because of its texture.
At the bottom (#4) we have what looks like a continuation of #2 and that further emphasizes the frontality of big blue (#1).
This painting presents a conundrum and there’s no solution. Try not to look at this. Good luck.
Painting by Jane Donaldson, acrylic on canvas, 30×40. 2015
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KVishnyRed
For the artist, the pleasure and challenge of painting. For the viewer, the pleasure and desire to look. This painting doesn’t leave you alone, you keep associating colors and traveling along the bumpy edges. Just look, for example, how the bits of green keep moving your eye through this painting, even though the red is dominant. (There are splashes of green in the black field, but the camera didn’t pick them up, unfortunately.)
Painting by Keren Vishny, 40×30. Acrylic on canvas
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14MariaRedBlueSquaresThis is quite an accomplishment, isn’t it.  You’re looking at rectilinear forms, four rectangles and two squares. From the verbal description, you’d expect a static image.  But it’s far from static.  You can’t help seeing these blue things moving. And what about the vertical divide, is that in the middle?

The suggestion of movement in the composition comes, to a great extent, from the little blue rectangle in the lower left corner.  It appears to be a fragment of the kind of square we see clearly stated on the right side of the painting.  The fact that there are two identical blue squares sets up an expectation in our minds that what we’re seeing in the lower left is one of that kind.  It’s uncanny, how powerful that little blue rectangle is. I would say, it makes the painting.  It sets everything in motion.

The other blue rectangle is that long thing in the middle.  It’s in the middle, right?  Wait, we can’t be sure, looks like the middle, but maybe not.  The large red rectangle appears to be just a smidge narrower than its light counterpart on the right, because a saturated color area will look smaller than a light area.  But, at the same time, red is a dominant color.  The illusoriness of the red half and the question of the mid-line are rubbed in our faces by this blue thin rectangle in the middle. Where’s-the-middle becomes an issue.  What’s static, what moves?

This painting by Maria Palacios appears to be simple, but is anything but.  Look at it.  It won’t let you go.

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14MariaRedIt’s a small painting, only about 12” x 14”.  As you look at it here, try to imagine it large, say 36” x 48”.  We react differently to paintings, depending on their size.  Small looks precious and controllable.  A large painting envelopes us, becomes part of the atmosphere.  Perhaps this work by Maria Palacios will inspire a larger incarnation of itself.

Not all languages have words for the same colors. But every language has a word for red, along with white and black.  Think of all the associations we have for red: blood, passion, danger, warning, stop, anger, love…strong stuff.

No doubt, this painting needs to be big.

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Traditionally, flowers are a sentimental subject in art.  The perfume of the cliché hangs over them. The viewer’s mind goes soft.  Oh, how pretty!  Oh, how boring.

Still, there it is, a luscious amaryllis.  It helps, of course, that it’s presented with a twist: just plopped down on this heap of cloth with the plastic stem coiling and creasing, like a cheap garden hose.   This is good for the imagination.

In her drawing,  Maggy S. is working in china marker on gloss paper, about 14 x 11. On gloss paper the china marker can be scraped off with a razor blade, but only to a limited extent, making for a pretty focused drawing process.

The artist puts down the amaryllis in red and then starts to work the background in black, keeping the texture lively. The flower is readable as what it is and the stem coils clearly, though it alerts us right away to the possibility that what we’re facing here is not all plain, up-front and literal.  Now, what to do with the black!  If she fills in the black as background, which is what she actually sees (please go back to the previous post to see the still life set up), then the whole thing will become too literal—red flower on black background, get it!!—and the drawing will fall flat.  But if the black “background” goes beyond being merely background and takes on a life of its own, we may be getting into art.  The artist restrains herself from filling in the left side of the page with black and just leaves that to the imagination, with two results:  1) The white on the left sets up tension in relation to the black on the right. 2) The black now moves through the page in an s-curve of its own.  This black s-curve echoes the s-curve in the flower’s stem.  Just seeing this is thrilling.  Because of that, the drawing may be considered finished.

Given their sentimental association in our history, flowers present a challenge to the modern artist.  But many of our mentors-in-modernism have approached the subject with plenty of irony and grit.  You may want to look up paintings of flowers and still lifes by Cézanne, Redon, Schiele and Van Gogh.

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