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Asheville Art Museum Presents Color Study Exhibition

Asheville Art Museum presents “Color Study” an exhibition on view through Sunday, November 6, 2011 in the Appleby Foundation Gallery.

Color has often been treated with reserve. Aristotle believed color’s role was ornamental and supplementary to line. Kant marginalized it as harmless and graceful but without significant use or meaning. Certain hues, like red, have been associated with the feminine, subjective and emotional and have been considered uncontrollable, elusive and threatening. One might suggest that color is dangerous and untrustworthy because unlike thought, as Walter Benjamin argued, color must be seen. When Derrida said “color has not yet been named,” he may well have meant that capturing color in words is nearly impossible as is the notion of attaching a specific meaning to values of color. To do so would mean to master it, deprive it, make it fade.

W.P.Jennerjahn Floating Reds, Oil on board. Asheville Art Museum collection

For those who like to be in control, color is a trouble maker. It oozes, overflows, eludes, tricks and stupefies. Some artists have attempted to take control of color’s uneasiness, to get rid of its spiritual and expressive connotations. One such attempt was art inspired by a color chart with a modernist grid providing a structural framework. And in the hey day of Modernism, critics like Clement Greenberg pursued a narrative which saw Modernist painting as a “peculiar form of tunnel vision leading away from pictorial depth and compositional complexity towards flatness, all-overness and the absence of association.”

Color Study provides a lively discourse between contemporary and historical works and tackles a variety of critical issues surrounding color. The works in this exhibition use color as their primary means of expression. Whatever their stance on these issues, the artists in Color Study all share a steadfast devotion to the exploration of color. For these artists, color is not a mere descriptor; instead, it is a provocative and powerful force.

This exhibition was organized and curated by the Asheville Art Museum. Color Study is sponsored by Ray Griffin and Thom Robinson.

Asheville Art Museum
2 South Pack Square at Pack Place
P.O. Box 1717
Asheville, North Carolina 28802-1717
Phone 828.253.3227
Fax 828.257.4503
[email protected]

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