Colour insight – MCA Sydney

zena oconnor presentation MCA Sydney-2

I was asked to provide colour insight in an interview for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Artists Voice series.

In this interview, I reviewed two works in the MCA’s collection: Rebecca Baumann’s ‘Automated Colour Field’ (2011) and Robert Owen’s ‘Sunrise #3’ (2005), providing colour insight into the works from a colour theorist’s perspective.

Colour is often used by artists to express or represent emotion such as joy, happiness, fear and tragedy. However, the interface between colour and human response is a complex inteface, open to the influence of a range of factors. These include individual differences, cultural and social conditioning as well as perceptual, temporal and contextual factors.

Many artists use colour to tackle more complex concepts. This is true of the ways both Baumann and Owen use colour in their works. Both aim to convey the notion that colour is a complex phenomenon that changes in response to context.

Rebecca Baumann’s ‘Automated Colour Field’ visually represents the complexity of colour and the ways in which colour interacts. The everchanging flipping of colour samples in her work also illustrates the perceptual effect of simultaneous contrast. The constantly changing juxtsaposition of colour reflects Heraclitus’ notion that you can’t step into the same river twice. Her work also focuses on time and the relentless automated rhythms of twenty-first century life. It’s also a visually stunning reminder of the amount of visual information that constantly bombards us on a daily basis.

Robert Owen’s work features a limited number of colours; however, the large-scale, walk-through format allows the viewer to see the impact of the colours from different perspectives and under different lighting conditions.

From a personal perspective, my father was a Holocaust survivor and colour for me is like an antidote to the dark side of life.

This colour insight video is one in the MCA’s Artists’ Voice series, July 2013.

This video can also be viewed at the Museum of Contemporary Art website.