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In this post, I will explore the subject of color based on two of its attributes – its quantity and quality. I will also look at how other colors affect the observer and his/her way of seeing. I will focus on 8 paintings # 101-109 from the Wheel within a Wheel series. My aim is to consider these works through the lens of Josef Albers’ framework of analysis presented in the Interaction of Color.

The type of role that the color red plays in these 8 designs is quite varied. I will begin with painting #101. In this work, red occupies mostly a position at the base and in the background of the design.


Wheel within a Wheel 101

The red in this work is mostly a warm cadmium and scarlet.  There are some variations in tint and tone – with tendencies towards lighter or darker shades and corresponding tendencies towards a yellow-warm or a blue-cool set of casts.  Red hence encompases the pinks, coral oranges and magenta purples, and presents the strongest and most abundant of colors in the painting.

White and black operate as counterpoints to red and the other hues in this artwork.  Black and white also give the design its characteristic movement as a sequential outflow of rhythmical curves. This pattern of waves presents a structural balance to the overall composition.

In my next post, I continue to look at these 8 panels and will focus on the second painting Wheel within a Wheel 102.

Just as I embark on this study of classical compositional themes as an analysis process and applied to the 8 Wheel within a Wheel artworks #101-109, I want to acknowledge that my work at points deviates from this set of aesthetic rules. I have naturally been interested in creating a sense of vibrant motion – especially of growth patterns – like blooming flowers and growing trees… Hence I draw heavily from the Fibonacci series, which I will also address later on.

I bring up this caveat to underline the variety of streams of thought and exploration present within abstract art. One of my favorite Venezuelan artists – Jesus Soto –dedicated himself to the fourth dimension in art – to create motion and vibration within a two dimensional plane and also three dimensional space.  He argued that his design created the forth dimmension of motion itself.  The artwork was not a descrition but revealed the actual experience of motion.  This visual effect of vibration and motion – the forth dimmension – is the central thesis espoused by Opt-Art.

Soto’s journey into abstract art opens the field further than the aesthetics of classical design.  Elements of which I explore in this post, along with Albers work and its theorerical model of perception.  The beauty of the subject matter of the arts is that it is full of variations, discoveries and seeming contradictions that simultaneously re-define and broaden the nature of art and art-making pursuits.

In order to expand on this subject of what lies as a set of principles in art as a form of analysis of an artwork, I quote Jesus Soto and his own experience.  As an artist, Soto is an innovador and illustrates how art becomes a process of discovery and investigation.

Jesus Soto: “I was searching for a vibratory state through repetition. I was interested in the problem of vibration and the study of light, which fascinated me in Velazquez, and the Impressionists, whom I have always respected, studied very consciously…At that time, as I was saying, while I was interested in vibratory states, I was trying to break away from the essential codes of figurative art; that’s why I wanted to do away with the notions of composition and balance, two of the great classical codes of representational painting.

Among the things I tried to do are those first ‘Repeticiones’ I mentioned, where the concept of composition no longer exists because it is an order that can be repeated ad infinitum, and where every segment is equal to the whole. The work was just the fragment of an infinite reality…In my paintings from that time there was no composition in the classic sense of the word, it was more like a progression of pictorial density from left to right.”   Jesus Soto in an interview – conversation with Ariel Jimenez.

I appreciate Soto’s thoughts since he outlines yet another means to communicate a sense of progression, as a reflection of an “infinite reality” – a pursuit that is also of great interest to me as an artist.

The immaterial is the universe’s sensible reality. Art is the sensorial knowledge of the immaterial, to be aware of the immaterial in its pure structural state is to cross the final step toward the absolute. ” Jesus Soto