In the 1690s Sir Isaac Newton’s experiments with prisms showed that the colours of the spectrum are contained in white light. Therefore, when we see colour we are also ‘seeing’ light – an invisible, intangible substance that otherwise lies beyond the boundaries of ordinary sensory perception. In subsequent centuries colour has been subject to a number of different investigative approaches ranging through the physical, optical, psychological, technical, and hilosophical but it still remains an essentially elusive substance, defying neat definitions and llencompassing theories.
This research has taken the work of four artists – Duncan Bullen, Jane Bustin, Rebecca Partridge, and Richard Kenton Webb, and used it as a starting point that reveals insights into the nature of colour, not only as a mysterious and elusive substance, but also as something that allows the intangible and invisible to become present.
Seen close up, the subtly tinted surfaces of Duncan Bullen’s drawings are covered with a grid of dynamic dots made by silverpoint and coloured pencil. But from a distance the evidence of their intensely concentrated manufacture dissolves into a mesmerising, shimmering surface that gives form to light. Colour in Jane Bustin’s paintings has no form to give it meaning, and as a result our eyes are forced to rest in its inner depths.
Lost in the timeless space of Superblack we are not only made aware of our sense of vision, but all of our other senses as well. Rebecca Partridge’s dynamic canvases offer an intensely coloured realisation of synaesthetic experience. They also evoke the invisible bridge of potential colour that is contained in the electromagnetic waves of light that bridge the space between, linking the ‘self’ with the ‘other’, the ‘micro’ and the ‘macro’. http://freeshippingworldwide.org/beautive/.
Richard Kenton Webb’s intense paintings and delicate plaster sculptures are an investigation of the colour red that forms part of a larger ‘colour sound’ project. Not only does his use of his own hand made pigments allow us to explore the unique character of each colour, but the subtle forms that lie at their heart provide a tentative form for the distinctive sense of ‘movement’ that he associates with each colour. These works propose new ways of seeing the world and understanding reality, allowing colour to be a figuring of light; a representation of the intangible.