Color is hardwired into the human experience. From the very beginning, color informed our daily lives. “Our most basic associations started with our instinctive need to survive,” writes Darius A Monsef IV in his book Color Inspirations. “We searched for blue water to quench our thirst, created red fire for warmth and sought green plants from food.” Over time our relationship with color evolved to convey emotion, class, and spirituality. Each hue has a deep history of meaning and connotations, and these stories are the subject of Light Grey Art Lab’s newest exhibition, Color Anthropology.
Sixty participating artists in Color Anthropology were tasked with creating work based on the cultural impact of a specific hue of their choosing. These artists were free to research and explore the cultural significance of this color across thousands of years. Work revolves around the symbolism, trade history, and spiritual importance of colors such as Lapis Lazuli, Blaze Orange, and Celadon, as well more recent colors, such as Barbie® Pink’s place in pop culture and modern society.
“Yellow has been the symbol of pro-democracy protests in both Hong Kong and Malaysia in the past ten years,” says Malaysian artist Charis Locke. “It's also a significant colour in different Asian cultures, standing for joy and wisdom, and is often the colour of royalty. I made a series of yellow flower posters in solidarity with recent events, and wish to continue exploring its role in protests and civil society.”
Other artists focused on color symbolism in fiction, such as Robin Hood’s iconic Lincoln Green garb, or the process and science behind a color, such as Oaxacan Purple, which is produced from crushed sea snail shells, and turn from yellow to their final purple hue due to chemical reactions when exposed to sunlight. Each work will be accompanied by a written statement by the artist, explaining the significance of that color, and why it’s important to acknowledge how it’s shaped our vision of the world.
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS: A. Sparrow, Alex Stone, Amanda Kiefer, Andrew Kolb, Andrew Olson, Angela Rizza, Anoosha Syed, Arielle Jovellanos, Barry McWilliams, Caroline Dougherty, Charis Loke, Charlotte Gomez, Christina Chung, Cleonique Hilsaca, Cristina Bencina, Emily Cheeseman, Erica Meschwitz, Erik Krenz, Erin McGuire, Gabriella Liv Eriksson, Gica Tam, Hari Conner, Kaa, Kaeti Vandorn, Kathleen Jennings, Kayla Stark, Kelly Kin, Kellye Perdue, Kendall Quack, Kevin VQ Dam, Kim Bogeman, Lauren Baldo, Lillian Lai, Lily Nishita, Luisa Rivera, Maggie Ivy, Marisa Seguin, Miguel Co, Mira Ko, Mirelle Ortega, Monica Amneus, Muna Abdirahman, Natalie Dombois, Phoenix Chan, Raxenne Maniquiz, Riley Frambes, Sam Schechter, Sara Diesel, Sija Hong, Stephanie Cost, Tashi Reeve, Tim Von Rueden, Tommy Parker, Tristan V. Yuvienco, Wenting Li, Will Kelly, Yoshi Yoshitani, Yuchen Zhang, and Zoe Persico.