Colour in the Making: From Old Wisdom to New Brilliance
1 Jan 2013
Black Dog Publishing London UK
Colour in the Making is a visual history of art and design told through the materials of colour - from the discovery and use of early earth pigments through lakes to organic chemistry and into contemporary dyes, inks, printing techniques and manufacture. Throughout this sumptuously colourful book artists' and designers' projects illustrate the often behind the scenes inventions and processes of colour-making. In doing so Colour in the Making, through its international and deep exploration of the field of colour, shows that art and science have always been inextricably linked. The book is structured around four essays, each of which provides the historical and technical background for studies which illuminate art and science collaborations and innovations in the field of colour and the artists' projects they produced. These studies feature Louis Jaques Thenard and the French Government's invention of "French Blue" leading to Yves Klein's obsession with the same colour, Cezanne's experiments with Goethe's theories, Joseph Albers' colour experiments leading to Bridget Riley's colour fields and new developments in digital colours which have led to works such as Cory Archangel's beautiful Photoshop colour gradients and Jessica Stockholder's immersive work Color Jam, colouring the streets of Chicago. Colour in the Making, via the beautifully illustrated essays and in depth studies that complement them, uncovers an important and sometimes overlooked history of art and design through the innovations that made the reproduction of coloured objects possible. Mark Clarke, colour conservation specialist working with the Winsor and Newton Archive, discusses colour's innovations up until the Renaissance. Philip Ball focuses on the advances in organic chemistry in the nineteenth century which led not only to a whole new colour spectrum in a vast array of materials, including the plastics, expanding foams and various resins crucial to contemporary sculpture, but also to a new world of dyes and therefore global fashion. Carinna Parraman examines the future of inks and paint making. Throughout the book the objects and images of art, design and fashion tell colour's story, and their reproduction here also touches on the use of inks, digital reproductions and the lasting value of colour in print.