FPAC: Artist’s Talk – Magenta: Extraspectral Color
Painters make a living of assigning subtractive colors to surfaces. Pigments in their paints reflect and absorb light, helping to create a pictorial illusion against a two-dimensional picture plane often trapped in a square or rectangular shape. This shape, the painting, is an object, while the paint on it is part of the structure. The paint acts as a binder that pulls the viewer and object together, laying between layers of material and sitting on the surface looking back at the viewer, inviting all to wonder about the illusionism of painting.
The spectrum of colors from white light confines a painter’s illusion making attempts. The viewer’s eyes, retinas to be exact, only have three photoreceptors (red, green, and blue cones) that engage the brain to make sense of the light around. The ratios of activation of these photoreceptors allow for the perception of a painting’s color. Some argue that at times the perception of color does not correspond to the physical world. If true, then the viewer may also be complicit in the illusion making process.
To explore this idea further, the exhibition Magenta: Extraspectral Color, focuses on using magenta paint on two dimensional surfaces, playing with the idea of color representation and cognition.
“In the philosophy of mind, qualia, define our subjective conscious experience, and philosophers ask, what is our perceived sensation of color. Language and culture help us define colors, so that we tend to agree on the redness of the evening sky, for example, but we have a hard time defining “redness” exactly, despite our agreement. While philosophers have debated such topics, visual artists have not been as present in these discussions, hence by creating a space for open dialogue about color perception within the exhibition, there is a hope that creatives may join in on debates about color from an experiential perspective. The focus is on magenta, a color some believe does not exist. Why is that? And, is it true?” says artist and curator Artra.