Colorimetry Uses Color as Instigator
Four years ago, the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) went through a major renovation with its groundbreaking new building alongside the hiring of Andi Campognone, noted Southern California curator and arts-professional, to manage its program. Since then, the museum’s permanent collection has been plumped up by a bevy of serious regional artists as well an exhibition schedule that continues to give a glimpse at what’s happened in California’s past, what is exciting about its present and what is evolving artistically towards its future. An example of this can be seen in the current show Colorimetry.
At its roots, Colorimetry is a luscious and lickable show about color with art that uses non-pictorial imagery and covers a range of finish fetish lines from the ethereal to the slick. Although each artist uses light and color differently, they are all paying homage to light and color in its elemental state in ways that invite the viewer deeply into an engaged space of shared devotion. This is articulated through optical illusions that feel like 3-dimensional space, projected animations, candy-like hypnotic visuals, or by completely enveloping the viewer in light and color.
Phillip K. Smith III’s colored panels represent windowpanes that reflect and project spaces occupied by the viewer through a mirroring of both literal environment and the present color of mood, which shifts and morphs moment to moment like the sun and moon phases of a day.
Gisela Colon’s Glo Pods investigate the properties of light in solid form and luminescent color through the use of industrial plastic materials.
Artist Ruth Pastine offers soft, inviting visceral experiences through oil and pastel studies which marry warm and cool colors or light and dark fields.
Dion Johnson’s video painting is a digital collage of fluid swatches of color and form inspired by his own interaction with the ephemeral in his life: the shadows that splay across his living room wall, a freeway traversed in his day to day, or the shapes that form when light dances through architectural form.
Johannes Girardoni’s installation of semi-translucent blue cast resin beams completely consumes a room in which viewers can walk around the eerie light sticks and hear the sounds that their human presence makes while engaging in the space with the work. The buzz of human energy mingling with and influencing the work’s energy denotes an otherworldly landscape yet one that is inherent and oddly familiar.
Sculptor John Eden presents multicolored disks that are interpretations of the symbols and colors used to identify military aircrafts’ country of origin. Bold, attractive, irresistible and alluring, these high polished works are “beautiful objects of lethal intent” and have much to impart about the dual cultural identity and connotations of the aerospace engineering industry.
Although Karl Benjamin is noted in history for being one of the “hard edge” abstract painters of the post war era, he is included in this show for his use of color and color relationships.
It would be remiss not to mention the obvious influence of the traditional light and space artists such as Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell and DeWain Valentine wavering in the background of this exhibition but the show does much more than merely extrapolate and elaborate on material lust and technique mastery from a previous historical perspective. It introduces a less severe stringency towards permitting the presence of the artist’s hand into art works while also showing technological advancement and its integration into art both on a compositional and material level. Additionally, it invites a living and breathing consciousness into the experiential aspects of art of which color becomes an instigator.
COLORIMETRY, LANCASTER MUSEUM OF ART AND HISTORY, LANCASTER through MARCH 16, 2014