There is a lot of work. A lot of it’s strong work too.
I had a hard time choosing what to post exactly. The color in this one finally got to me and I decided to go with it.
Picking up on that. I couple times in the last week–once in a conversation with Sloane, once reading Modern Art Notes– the idea of “good” color has come up. My question to the floor might be: at this particular moment is this a term that should or should’t be part of the lexicon?
maybe i could think about this question a little bit better if there were some discussion about what it is that people look for in color. i mean, what kind of weight do you guys assign to the role of color in paintings that you look at (or make)?
chris, if you picked this image because of the color, then why?
I’m a little skeptical what “good” color means or implies….. When I think of good color, for some reason I equate it with tasteful color, and I think that’s too limiting. This seems like one of those issues that could easily turn into a question of semantics, but for me, it’s never really a question of color being good or bad, but whether it seems appropriate. It’s appropriate if the color is consistent with whatever the artist is trying to get across. The color could be be “good”(appropriate) even if it’s actually terrible; The heinousness has to work with the painting and the artist’s intentions for it.
Does anyone have an example of something that they think has really bad color that does or doesn’t work? I’m really just curious about what anyone would define as “bad” color, and why.
I do think the “good” color question has a semantic aspect, for sure. I know in my head that the “appropriate for the intent” idea is right, but still, somehow it just doesn’t quite match up to my experiences of art. It’s like the P.C. version of how color works.
Color is just so powerful. I think sometimes the color comes before the artist’s intent. Or becomes the artist’s intent. Or says something different, or something more than the artist intends. Color can be inappropriate and more enjoyable or at least seductive than what the artist intends.
I mostly find Oretsky’s work a little reductive and design-y. But, the way those grays at the bottom totally change the speed of the citrus-y yellows and browns is something that I really respond to. It must mean something, even if that thing is physiological. So it’s good color, or she’s a good colorist.
I like the Bad Color question from Sloane. Anyone?
And what about good color that doesn’t work?
Tom Gregg (be sure to follow the link to his gallery page) is a painter who works with intense, pure color. The color schemes are based on Josef Albers paintings. This should be good color. But when I show the work to other painters, people who should know, they’ve usually said that he’s not a good colorist.
strange. when i look at Gregg’s work, it sort of puts me in mind of Philip Pearstein’s, just without the (human) figures. Pearlstein was the one painter that jumped into my mind when i started to think about Sloane’s question. i like Pearstein, but not for his color. i like his sense of design. it’s not that i think his color is really all that bad, it just doesn’t leave any sort of impression on me. i know it’s there, but i can’t recall it from specific paintings. i can recall the drawing elements though.
this weekend i had a conversation with Bill Itter that had something to do with this discussion…at least i think it did. conversations with him are so enigmatic and i always assume that what he is actually saying is so far over my head and prophetic that i am only grasping the tiniest sliver of his intended meaning.
he started it by asking me if i felt ‘guilty’ for using color the way that i use it. i took it to mean that i use color rather indulgently (which i do). then he went into this whole thing about painters who build paintings around color decisions, rather than trying to ‘assign’ color roles to the subject matter. i think, in the end, he was actually trying to pay me a minor compliment, but i am still not sure…
Huh. Not a veiled compliment, so much as a Joycean one.
I have to admit a similar feeling to Pearlstein. The color doesn’t do a lot for me. Less than Freud, who usually says he doesn’t want his color to be something you notice, or something along those lines. The thing there is he’s really good at using it, so you end up seeing it anyway.
Speaking of people named Philip, Philip Guston said he couldn’t handle color, but I’ve always thought he was a good colorist.
If we can’t agree on what ‘good’ color is, can we agree on what ‘bad’ color is?
From the Plagens article Matt linked to: “Color is the most relative of all the ingredients in art.” The talking about Guston got me to thinking about the 2004 Venice Biennale, which had some great Gustons. It also had some really great Francis Bacon paintings. But, somehow, seeing those paintings in Venice, they were completely different paintings to me. All those lemony pinks and violets just totally not as squeamish in a city where most of the houses and men’s pants are the exact same colors.