Friday, June 29, 2012

Color Gravity

Ever since prepping for a lecture on color theory for my Fabric Design class I have found myself increasingly, you know, a little bit kind of sort of maybe a smidge COMPLETELY OBSESSED with color.

What does that even mean? Yeah, okay, color is everywhere... and maybe my new-found enthusiasm has something to do with the brilliant (read: neon) solid colors all over the damn place (read: pinterest) but, every time I see a great color, my eyes widen, my heart beats faster and I gasp aloud in excited awe. In his book, "Winter's Tale," author Mark Helprin describes a character who exhibits something called color gravity. Pearly Soames, mob boss and criminal extraordinaire, lives his life dictated by this pull by color: he steals paintings, desires nothing more than to build an entire room out of gold and even stops on his way to a gang war to watch a coat of emerald-colored paint be applied to the doorposts of a saloon. "'Put more on,' he said. 'I like to see it when it goes on, when it's wet. There's an instant of glory'" (23).

 The backside of a building on Milwaukee as seen from Spaulding.

I feel a little like that these days. Besides stopping in awkward places to gawk openly and sometimes shoot seemingly inexplicable photos, I've been going back and rereading a lot of the color theory that was pressed on us in school. Josef Albers? Yeah, that guy might have been a genius.

Demonstration of one of Albers' exercises: how to make one color look like two by positioning it on different backgrounds.

Nowhere has my color gravity been stronger than when I'm looking at the sky. That thing is crazy blue... I mean, right? Enter RadioLab's completely amazing episode on Color. (Listen to it. Listen to in NOW. Go ahead, I'll wait. ... AMAZING, RIGHT?) There's this bit at the end about how long it took us (humanity?) to pinpoint/identify/own the color of the sky as being blue. Even children, when not explicitly told has difficulty naming the color for a number of years. This concept goes completely against the way I think about how I relate to the sky.

What I think of as the "Philly Skywindow Building." It was a building located between my job in Philly and where I would park my car. On some days I would pass it the sky would be exactly the same color as the painted wood that boarded up the long-abandoned windows. It was as if I was looking straight through the building. Or.. as if the building was trying to be the sky. It was awesome.

All of which as lead me here, to my most recent compulsion: color matching the sky.

June 25, 2012. 6:12pm. DLO Parking Lot. Facing North, 45* above the horizon. Color: Running Water.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with this project but, that's the whole point of art, right? The act of doing is sometime the catalyst for the art or even becomes the art itself. In any case, I'm enjoying the doing... even if it requires carrying an absurd number of paint swatches and looking damn crazy on the side of the road for 10 min at a time. 



1 comment:

Elizabeth said...