SEEING IN COLOUR
- David Batchelor
- Chila Kumari Burman
- Patrick Caulfield
- Alan Davie
- Jeremy Deller
- Angus Fairhurst
- Sir Terry Frost
- Peter Gee
- Patrick Heron
- Damien Hirst
- Howard Hodgkin
- Georgie Hopton
- John Hoyland
- Gary Hume
- Paul Huxley
- Albert Irvin
- R B Kitaj
- Chris Ofili
- Julian Opie
- Sir Eduardo Paolozzi
- Bridget Riley
- Alison Turnbull
- Marc Vaux
Sight is arguably one of the most important senses and the eye the most delicate of organs. Vision occurs when light enters the eye through the pupil and is then redirected through the lens. The human eye comprises millions of specialist cells known as rods and cones, and it is thought that there are three types of cones, each sensitive to the wavelength of a different primary colour - red, green or blue. Other colours are seen as combinations of these primary colours that when mixed together reflect vibrant, glowing and luminous colour that, well, colours our lives.
The purest artists' colours come from pigments. A list of these from a London colourman reads like an alchemist's notebook:
madder root pieces (pinks),
lapis lazuli (blue) ,
gamboge pieces and powder (orange),
litharge (pale yellow),
Metals listed in the Periodic Table: cadmium, cobalt, titanium, lead, alongside chemical compounds arsenic trisulphide (bright yellow), arsenic disulphide (yellow-orange), mercuric sulphide (bright opaque red), copper silicates (blue), hydrated copper acetate (green) create a chemistry of colour. Then there is the geography of colour: Naples yellow, Antwerp blue, Sienna burnt and raw, Indian red and Mars, the red planet, names yellow, black and violet. The apparent contradiction of colour: ivory black, made originally from charred elephant tusks as they gave the densest blackest black.
In the history of colour the earth colours were easily won powdered as they were from earth and stone, distilled from flower petals and plants, or crushed from roots and barks. Benign and beautiful; other colours were deadly. Lead dissolved in vinegar produced a white residue that when mixed with a medium was used as a ground for paintings. Lead White is poisonous; the chief cause of painters' colic. Arsenic green (known also as Paris, Parrot and Vienna green) was the colour of Napoleon's wallpaper in his prison which rotted in the damp of St Helena and poisoned the French emperor as arsenic gas was released from the leafy pattern.
The first 'artificial' pigment Prussian Blue was made around 1704 by Diesbach, a German colourman, from ground bones and blood. In 1856 the British chemist William Perkins discovered the first aniline dye, mauveine, now known as mauve. In 1963 Pantone® developed their colour matching system for printing inks: based around cyan, magenta, yellow and black with 15 base pigments (including black and white) over a thousand different hues were classified and numbered. The Scottish Parliament voted Pantone® 300 as the blue of the Saltire, the national flag. It is an official colour, as red is for stop and green is for go.
We not only speak of colour but with colour: 'Those blue remember hills'(1) ; 'a rose-red city half as old as time'(2) ; we have red letter days (3); we grow pinks (dianthus) in our flower beds, and write in purple prose (4). We eat up our greens (cabbage, spinach chard and the like) and the citrus fruits give name to colour - orange, tangerine and lime. Colour truly is the stuff of life.
(1) A E Housman, A Shropshire Lad (1896)
(2) John William Burgon, Petra (1845)
(3)The term refers to the use of red inked capital letters in medieval ecclesiastical manuscripts to mark feasts and holy days; known also as Rubrics
(4)A literary criticism term referring to extravagant, ornate and flowery language; text that is overly stylized so that interferes with the narrative flow.
Clear plastic film / sheet available in different weights and thickness, that can be printed upon or have tape laid upon it; water resistant.
Refers to either the material used to create a work of art, craft or design, i.e. oil, bronze, earthenware, silk; or the technique employed i.e. collage, etching, carving. In painting the medium refers to the binder for the pigment, e.g. oil, egg, acrylic dispersion. The plural form is media.
Oman, Qaboos University Cultural Centre
- 27 March 2011 − 31 March 2011
Azerbaijan, Institution of Fine Arts
- 24 November 2010 − 05 December 2010
Georgia, Academy Of Arts
- 03 November 2010 − 17 November 2010
Ukraine, Centre for Urban History
- 17 October 2010 − 24 October 2010
Ukraine, Kiev, Bottega Gallery
- 07 October 2010 − 14 October 2010
Armenia, Yerevan, National Gallery
- 18 September 2010 − 25 September 2010
Armenia, Style Gallery
- 11 September 2010 − 15 September 2010