• Palina Gurinovich

Painting Beyond Itself. Essay: On Colour by Amy Sillman

Updated: Nov 19, 2019



For a painter, it shouldn't be troubling to tell what colour they are holding while being blindfolded. DIFFERENT WEIGHT

Artists' job(mainly painters) is different from an art historian. Artist's is to HOLD colour and art historians is to BEHOLD it.

Linked to Josef Albers "Interaction of Colors".


Before putting a colour down onto the canvas, you should slice and dice them, layer and shift, to test them on your eye

Corporeality of colour:

Primary: to handle, pour, slosh around, feel, drip, smudge, tape off, and experience

Colour as an object is earthly material.

Colour as subject arches over everything like a rainbow.... to what happens in your eyes, from religious symbology to philosophical problem, from phenomena to noumena.


In order to deal with colour, you need to render these overarching problems as physical propositions, as sensuous experiences synthetically merged under the sign of hand.

Hue adds a nearly anthropomorphic character to the operations in a painting.

Think carefully when picking your colours, as it states in the book, each person has a personal view on things, his own perception. You will never have the same image in your head, as the person next to you, while looking at the same object. Make sure you are not crossing any lines...

Also, don't forget about the cultular interpretation of colour.

Most artists prepare their materials, i.e. paint mixtures, canvases... just right. Think about what it means.

"You have to negotiate a surface, tone, line, space, zone layer, scale, speed, and mass while interacting with meta-surface of meaning, text, sign, language, intention, concept, and history. You have to simaltaniously diagnose the present, predict the future, and ignore the past- to both rememebr and forget. You have to love and hate your objects and subjects..." After all that, you also have to think about the colour. Majority of the time, while mixing paint it will come out hideous and wrong, when after 50th try you finally got it right, you may forget how you got that specific shade.

Colour's primary paradox: the schizophrenic nature of its own rhetoric. Meaning???

Colour theory

colour wheel since 1706

1920-30's - Albert Munsell - colour globe ( pole-shaped, 3-dimensional model ) - hue,value and chroma)

Nowadays, colour theory is driven by art stores. synthetic

Painters became impatient and lost touch with their materials

Colour is a primary tool for negotiating


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