“Black is a Color”

The statement, “Black is a Color” was the title for a Matisse exhibit held by the M Maeght Gallery in Paris, 1946. Matiisse’s comments on black and his use of black in his paintings caused me to rethink the way in which I use black in my paintings.

I have primarily used black in my paintings to develop a line into a continuous flowing line,  to create a sense of movement and rhythm. The image below, Verse Floating Free, is an example. I never thought of black as a color other than depicting and shaping a line.

Verse, Floating Free, Ink and Gouache on Paper, 22" x 16", SoldWith Matisse’s remarks in mind, I began to experiment with black in my figurative series, as a color and an object. First, I did several quick sketches of nudes leaning or reclining into an empty space with no visible means of support.

Then I worked an several washes, filling in the background and began to introduce black as a color and a support for the reclining nude.

The final paintings take shape with the black being a strong color, an object and a support.

I believe that being willing to experiment is essential to the makeup of an artist. If unwilling to experiment, the artist and the art becomes repetitive and flat.

Author: Rees

I am a Chicago artist, painter and visual poet.

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