BLACK ISN’T A COLOR
Whether you are a scientist, an anthropologist, or an artist, the nature, meaning and power of the color black can be debated endlessly.
Since the beginning of human habitation, light and dark, day and night marked the parameters of daily life. The corresponding “colors”of white and black remain today as powerful in expressing the mysteries of the dark, of night, as white is seen as the symbolic opposite, the day, the light, that which can be seen.
For me, black still holds the power of great mysteries, the division of night and day. It is the canvas of our dreams upon which we play out our innermost dramas. It is the great “indeterminate space” of the Universe, of memory, of the unknown future projected in deepest sleep. It is an elemental thing, with presence, with substance. It evokes some deep and mysterious “other place” for which I have no words to adequately describe.
In a previous post I wrote about one of my most recent series of drawings in which the color black is used, The Black Drawings. These mysterious drawings use black Nupastel on paper and descend from the stone motif found in textile pieces, drawings, paintings, and works on paper in THE THREADS PROJECT which has been often discussed in this blog.
Here black is more than a color; it is an atmospheric presence. While it relates to the physical, it suggests the metaphysical to me and looks backward to a long history of this color in drawings, works on paper, books, and in association, with poetry.
In keeping with my interest in surveying the long history of themes, ideas, methods and materials, I took out earlier images to re-visit some of the past works in which black is a major element whether in actual use of it as pigment or in reference as in the writing.
Until the beginning of The Threads Project which began in about 2001, I worked not only in a non-representational manner, but in fact for decades loved to do figurative work. Those earlier works reflected my deep interest in the metaphysical, in the life of dreams and symbols, and in my search for understanding of the relationship of these to our “waking” lives.
In 1991 this untitled drawing done in Nupastel on black paper shows a deeply mysterious image. As dreams reflect the emotional landscape of our days so does this troubling figure projected onto a dark ground.
THE MOONLIGHT SUITE
Also from the 1990’s, this suite of drawings was part of many, many in which black paper provided the necessary lack of spatial reference, whether as a dream image or a figurative work as above.
“Object of Desire-The Parenthetical Device of Night and Day”, below, enters into the deep levels of our “other lives” that take place in sleep. Here we travel without the physical, meet, grieve, anticipate, and create what is to come. The search for love, the meaning of love, and for loved ones is for everyone a great endeavor in the landscape of our dreams.