Tuesday, April 20

Art Quilt Elements:COLOR

As I'm off to teach Color Theory this evening and color is on my mind, I thought I'd feature 2 of the quilts in the Art Quilt Elements show at the Wayne Arts Center (see previous post for overview) that really explore the qualities of color. "Radiant Interception" by Cindy Friedman almost reads as a color wheel with value gradations, each quadrant containing a close analogous color harmony. What I really loved about it was that the "Shadows" in the piece are an overlay of silk organza, which automatically mutes the colors beneath. This layering of transparencies is often used in painting- especially in watercolor, but is underutilized by fiber artists. I don't usually like such brightly colored work, as it reads so "rainbow", but after reading her statement, I smiled-- her use of bright colors were an intentional antidote to being stuck indoors during this long, dreary, snow-filled winter we're escaping.
"Splash" by Jeannette Jacobs is a large and extraordinarily complex pieced quilt. She says she uses her computer to aid in the design process. Again, I'm not normally drawn to such bright "rainbow" work, but I'm just astonished at her control in the piecing and illusion of transparencies as shapes overlap. It's a classic color theory exercise. Instead of using actual transparencies like a watercolor wash or Friedman's silk organza overlays, the artist creates the illusion of transparent objects by imagining what color would appear if one transparent color were laid over another and mixes that color or selects the fabric accordingly. For example, the light colored wide diagonal at the bottom right appears slightly more opaque as it crosses over the thin purply strip pointing towards the center because she chose a color very close to the original white. Whereas the small pink triangle above it feels very translucent where it crosses over the strong downward dark red slash because she chose a redder color for the overlap. What's in front? What's behind? What's transparent? What's opaque? The answers aren't clear, which makes this a very exciting and complex quilt!

I'm off to color theory now- the semester is just beginning, and I'm in my 3rd year of teaching it, but seeing these colorful quilts energizes me to talk about color all over again.

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