What is Color?

Fall 2016 | Remarks

What Is Color?

WHAT IS COLOR? Is it a mere issue of optics? Is it chemistry, or is it identity? Is it an inheritance of cultural pride, or a debt of historic privilege? Is it an excuse for subordination and recrimination, or an invitation to understanding? Why does color excite such extremes of loyalty and indignation?

The artist knows.

No artist can escape the conundrum of color. The painter commands the colors on his palette, tempering and defining them to his liking. Yet, once they dry upon the canvas, his colors begin to define him. Their idiosyncrasies determine his celebrity or anonymity. Color becomes the lens through which the world perceives him.

Color is superficial, but significant. Its beauty draws us into the truths at work beyond it—to the inspiration behind the brushstroke, and the soul beneath the skin. It is the perpetual task of the artist within us all to see color for what it really is: an imperfect prism through which we encounter the enigma of the human person.

Photograph by Elise Matich