Friday, November 27, 2009

Push the color red as far as it can go?

One of my unfulfilled dreams as a colorist has been to pack as many colors as possible into a painting that breaks the barrier of “it’s too pretty to be considered as serious art.”

When I was working on my M.F.A., the "anti-aesthetic" ruled. The art that was sanctioned by the intelligentsia was far from lovely. Matisse’s famous philosophy - that a painting should be like a comfortable armchair - was taboo. There was no going back to the luxurious color harmonies of Matisse and Monet in the French impressionist era or the lush abstractions of deKooning or Rothko in the mid-twentieth century.

Maybe it was a good thing that I turned away from painting fifteen years ago, because until a few days ago, I didn’t think it was possible to create an image on a canvas with juicy oil paints - an image with more colors that one could imagine occupying the picture plane or just one lush or screaming color in a way that it had never existed before. Finally, I didn't believe that this genre of colorful imagery could meet the high standards of the fine arts world today.

I met an artist last week whose paintings embody every goal, every dream any artist, any colorist could wish for. She is Chris Chou, a Guggenheim Fellow 2007 - and that means she is indeed taken seriously by artists and art historians internationally.

Here’s what Chris says about red “I paint the color of red. I want to push red as far as it can go.”

At this point, words fail. See what she did with red and every color of the spectrum at her website -

1 comment:

Color4Charlotte said...

Jill - I'm glad you met Chris Chou. I love it when people get inspired by someone they meet and it enhances their life somehow.

I viewed her paintings and enjoyed her feelings on color and the way she feels about red. Here is what I posted for her:

“Also being a lover of red, I appreciate your views. Red is symbolic of so many things. A person of Japanese decent may look at this painting and see their flag. I look at it and see what other colors can be, as strange as it sounds, almost like the grey/black area of your painting is envious of it's vibrance. The delicate part of red is that if you add too much blue, it now becomes purple - too much yellow and it's now orange. Kudos to you for nailing the perfect red - “pushed as far as it can go”.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!