Achromatic

  • Jan 27, 2008 – Apr 20, 2008
Installation view: Weatherspoon Art Museum, 2008.

The debate over whether “black” and “white” are colors is long-standing. Manet argued against black as a color, while Renoir called it “the queen of all colors.” Some scientists argue that black is the absence of light and, therefore, color. Others, considering that the mix of the three primary pigments produces “black,” or something close to it, conclude that black is a color.

Artists are less likely concerned about the physics of light and chemistry of pigments than they are about aesthetic and symbolic possibilities of color. Black materials—graphite, charcoal, India ink, ash, and tar--can be seductive, mysterious, and tactile, all reasons why artists may be enticed to work with them. Black is also highly symbolic, variously representing formality, emptiness, elegance, evil, resilience, the void, even rebellion. The works in this exhibition--all primarily black— demonstrate the color’s rich variances. The possibilities are endless, just like those of the little black dress.

 

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