Katrina Blannin, Caroline List, Laurence Noga At Tension
Shape Chroma: Tension Fine Art London: Newton and Goethe disagreed about the genesis of color. Most of the comments assume Goethe was wrong. But this is only true if you accept that color can be simply described by physics and that the psychological and conceptual components have no influence on how we see.
The highest goal a man can achieve is wonder – Johan Wolfgang von Goethe.
Goethe was a philosopher who understood the drift of thought in 19th century Europe. He was a romantic who had grasped an important flaw in empiricism: the impossibility of objectivity. In the 19th century, art historian Charles Blanc explored the laws of “simultaneous contrast”, drawing on the theories of Michel Eugène Chevreul and Eugène Delacroix, to suggest that optical mixing would produce a more vibrant color than process. traditional mixture of pigments. Science, psychology and, in particular, contemporary technology have evolved since then, but the basic dichotomy remains. How do we see and react to shape and color? As Jules Olitski wrote in Artforum in 1967, “the development of color structure ultimately determines its expansion or compression – its outer edge. I think… of color as being seen in and everywhere, not just on the surface ”.
Shape Chroma is a “trilogue” organized by the artist Caroline List between three painters: herself, Laurence Noga and Katrina Blannin, who bring these questions to the field of contemporary aesthetics with different explorations of color, of form. and spatial illusion. No question has been more fundamental to Modernist painting than the recognition of flatness or two-dimensionality, but the brand’s power to suggest illusion and depth does not lie so much in painting as in painting. eye.
Exploring chromatic interactions, constructed and illusionistic space, each artist created new pictorial conversations in the light of modernist abstraction and contemporary digital influences, highlighting the Goethe / Newton dichotomy between reason and poetry.
Katrina Blannin’s meticulously layered geometric shapes focus on complex systems of repetition and mathematics. Palindromic and isochromatic structures are used to produce paintings full of logical clarity that reexamine the history of color theory and early Renaissance painting, which she explores in the context of 20th-century Constructivism. Working in acrylic on medium-textured linen, she sparked new debates around the possibilities of the painted surface.
Nostalgia collides with a synthetic color palette in Laurence Noga’s work, blending industrial aesthetics with pure geometry. By superimposing collage, color and mixed media, he loots memories of his father’s garage – tools, packages and washers – to evoke Proustian memories. An interest in the Bauhaus influences his choice of color, setting up unpredictable surfaces and depths of field that draw the viewer into its bewildering world.
Working on linen, cardboard, paper and aluminum, Caroline List creates luminous paintings full of sensual hues that explore the spatial qualities of color in relation to form and substance, defined by their different absorbances. Drawing on early 20th century abstraction and virtual screen photography, his work implicitly refers to landscapes, organic forms and atmospheric light. Using high key pigments and fluorescents full of transparency and opacity, his works, despite their sophisticated geometry, create links with the saturated color fields of Rothko and the spiritual and supernatural light of Caspar David Friedrich.
Color is not “out there” in the world – painted on roses and snowdrops – but forms in our eyes, our minds and even our hearts. Our perceptual apparatus creates color filtered through our emotional state and cultural biases. An ambitious and visually intelligent show, Shape Chroma revisits the history of art to revive what came before it in order to construct a new 21st century grammar in which to reexamine these questions of color theory and form. Thus, if knowing physics is, without a doubt, technically useful, it is on the other side of perception that meaning and art reside, as these three artists illustrate in an articulate manner.
Top image: Caroline List, Oil and black gesso on linen, ‘Chroma Shape’ series (2020)
Shape Chroma: Katrina Blannin – Caroline List – Laurence Noga Tension Fine Art – September 17-October 16 135 Maple Road London SE20 8LP
Voltage Fine Art is a gallery dedicated to showcasing work and raising the profile of emerging and mid-career local, national and international artists. They show a mix of contemporary and experimental art that questions what art is and what art could be.
Sue Hubbard is an award-winning independent art critic, poet and novelist. Principal Writer for Artlyst, his latest novel, Rainsongs, is published by Duckworth and his fourth collection of poetry, Swimming to Albania, is published this fall by Salmon Press.