Smashing Color

with Maggie Maggio

Saturday School: Contexture

Debra DeWolff, Cynthia Tinapple, Maggie Maggio, Cynthia Toops, Tracy Holmes, Laura Timmons

I am in Racine, Wisconsin for the opening of the Racine Art Museum’s Terra Nova polymer show. The preview last night was spectacular. I was constantly thinking, “I remember when ____ made that!”

One of the best parts of the weekend is seeing so many of the friends I’ve made in the polymer community over the past twenty years.

The second chapter of Josef Albers book is titled “Color reading and contexture.” It deals with the concept that all things are interconnected.

“Our concern is the interaction of color: that is, seeing what happens between colors.

“We are able to hear a single tone, but we almost never see a single color unconnected and unrelated to other colors. Colors present themselves in continuous flux, constantly related to changing neighbors and changing conditions.”

I’m not sure exactly how to express this, but I see a connection between Albers quote and the gathering this weekend. There are thirty three artists exhibited in the show but the interwoven threads of the polymer community extend way beyond the museum. Each of the artists has influenced, and been influenced by, many other artists over the years. We have shared techniques, inspirations, tools, critiques, books and clay. We’ve explored this new medium together.

There are over 200 pieces in the Terra Nova show. Looking at them all together, the connections are clear.

My Saturday School assignment is simple. Put yourself in context. Make a list of everyone who has influenced your work.  Everyone you’ve taken a class with, read a book by, talked to about your art. Everyone whose works you have seen in museums, galleries, shows, books, magazines and on the internet. Can you do it?

Just as no color can be seen alone, no artist can stand alone. We are all connected.

1 Comment

  1. It was great seeing you at the opening on Friday, sorry I couldn’t stay for the symposium and that we didn’t have time to chat much. The necklace I wore to the opening was partly influenced by your water color technique, but had pieces of Jones tones foil (originally introduced to me by Marie Segal about 12 years ago) spread out on dark clay backed with white and then torn to make the leaf patterns. I had first done some exactly using the water color technique as you demonstrated it at Synergy II.

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