Color perception, as one writer poetically puts it, is less a retinal and more a total bodily activity. Color enlivens. It ingresses. Color invades our perceptions, jumping across physical boundaries and blurring distinctions between the senses. One tastes yellow, and feels blue. Color, as another writer puts it, confounds our reminiscences of observed events, material objects, and physical features. Memories are always too-blue, too-red, or too-yellow. The blue of a friend’s eyes are always in excess of the actual hue. Among philosophers, historians, and scientists, there is no consensus on the topic of color. Goethe, for example, states colors are dangerous; when speak about the topic, he suggests, philosophers see red and, like a bull in an arena, begin to rant and rave. They become color mad. Such MADNESS is central to the upcoming exhibition at Western Gallery.
The exhibition features a range of media, from prints and paintings to installation art and video projection. The majority of works in the show are selected from Western Gallery’s permanent collection, which includes a selection from the Washington Art Consortium, and the Whatcom Museum’s permanent collection: artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Bea Nettles, Jasper Johns, Mark Tobey, William Eggleston, and Susan Rothenberg are featured. Also centrally spotlighted are Geraldine Ondrizek’s chromosome paintings, a series of light boxes inspired by her desire to visualize genetic markers, and Dennis Summers’ video works, two color projections, inspired by Steve Reich’s phase shift music.
ColorMAD is a hybrid exhibition. In addition to works of art, the show brings together departments across Western Washington University’s campus, from the Physics Department to Instruction and Research Services at the Western Libraries. ColorMAD is dynamic. Moving beyond interdisciplinarity, the show is designed to engage the viewer, enveloping him or her in color at its threshold. Once inside, ColorMAD will flood the senses. Participants are encouraged to partake in the activities, listen to the colored tones of Machinefabriek, and become — ColorMAD.
Curator: Barbara L. Miller in conjunction with art history students from AH490, in association with Zachary Johnson-Guthrie, Hilary Hamilton, Elizabeth Etzkorn and Veronica Parkin, and in coordination with Sarah Clark-Langager. Special appearances of the ColorMAD muse, Mariah Tate Klemens.