June 25 – July 25, 2015

Jeff Hallbauer, Zoe Hodgson, Eddy Hofbauer, Simone Jarvis. Ben Marvin and Jacobo Zambrano

Curated by Elliat Albrecht

Aspiring to Completeness: A Fictional History of Colour

 

    1. Red was reported to be the first colour seen by a living thing. It was thought that one perceives red before reaching full consciousness, scarlet appearing in the liminal space between dreaming and waking. It might’ve been the blood-hue of light through the thin flesh of eyelids that swayed scientists. Like the first notes of a familiar song, red was compared with sensation in the moment immediately before intellectualization.
    2. Ultramarine was the most expensive pigment to produce, used sparingly to striking effect in paintings of the Virgin Mary where she was almost invariably depicted wearing blue robes.
    3. As soon as they reached high school, colours were divided into two lunch tables: cool and uncool.
    4. Flourishment eclipses practicality. People have always sought ways to make their garments more attractive. Centuries ago, dyers invented aromatic concoctions derived from rare plants, animals, and sea creatures. They hung freshly coloured textiles to dry in the sun with fingers blistered from the boiling vats.
    5. Homer never onced used the word “blue” in the Odyssey.
    6. An alternate reading of Mondrian’s famous geometric paintings is that they were really graphs of his moods in the studio: the amount of yellow connoting ecstasy, blue: melancholy, red: restlessness.
    7. When editing the dictionary, seven consultants were hired to advise on the revised definitions of colours. There were only four consultants brought on for mathematics and physics. The best one was: “begonia n … 3 : a deep pink that is bluer, lighter, and stronger than average coral (sense 3b), bluer than fiesta, and bluer and stronger than sweet william — called also gaiety.
    8. Children realized that by pressing their fingers into their eyes they could see a riot of fireworks.
    9. America is divided into red states and blue states. In 1976, NBC debuted its first election map on the air, with lightbulbs that turned red for Carter-won jurisdictions (Democratic), and blue for Ford (Republican). The color scheme was based on Great Britain’s political system, which used red to denote the more liberal party.
    10. During the first few years following the widespread introduction of traffic lights, drivers couldn’t remember if green or red meant stop or go. Collisions were rampant and citizens united to hold a heated protest to return back to an intersectional honour system.
    11. Purple was borne of an attempt to paint with a colour so beautiful that it would remind viewers that magic has no language.
    12. In period of mid-century angst, a school of frustrated artists made a list with two columns: one of every material that resists colour, and another with everything that absorbs it. They burnt the second and only painted on the first. They threw pigment into the air and poured it into water where it quickly swirled away.
    13. The critic John Ruskin once said, in a lecture delivered at the Philosophical Institution in Edinburgh, “The blue colour is everlastingly appointed by the Deity to be a source of delight; and whether seen perpetually over your head, or crystallised once in a thousand years into a single and incomparable stone, your acknowledgment of its beauty is equally natural, simple, and instantaneous.”
    14. In the late 1980’s, prison cells were painted  a particular shade of pale pink thought to have calming qualities. There was a significant decrease in inmate violence.
    15. Due to the increasing unemployability of poets, cosmetics companies were offered tax incentives to hire them to name lipsticks. Highlights were “Dissolved in Dreams,” “Whipped Caviar,” “Scarlatto Ecstacy.”
    16. Someone poured all the paint into the kitchen sink. The grey was a holiness, the completion of a current, like an unexpected song.
    17. Crayola employees started naming all the crayon colours after what they had for lunch.
    18. Somewhere there exist an official list of royal colours. The saffron coloured fish of princes and princesses, velvet maroon, ruby (when worn, believed to bring about invincibility.)
    19. Work crews came in and painted everything in the office baby blue over the weekend. I mean everything: the walls, desks, pens, old memos stuck to the monitors. One employee said it was calming. Another said it made him seasick.
    20. The development of new oil and watercolor paints came about almost entirely as a result of the huge demand for textile dyes for clothing. When a new pigment was discovered, the first beneficiaries were usually textile manufacturers.
    21. In the late seventeenth century, a Dutch artist known as A. Boogert compiled “Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau,” an eight-hundred-page compendium of colour. It looks exactly like a Benjamin Moore paint chip catalogue.
    22. “Colour sucks,” an artist said in the café.
    23. Colour has a violent past as a symbol of power, you know, all those flags fluttering on the masts of colonial ships.
    24. Apparently gang members have stopped wearing identifying colours because these days they are “committing more white-collar crimes, like credit card fraud.”
    25. Investorsare in early talks about a Museum of Very Recent History that would display all the colours that had been invented on the internet. So very soon this will be so very long ago.

 

Jeff Hallbauer is an artist living and working in Vancouver. His work centres around painting as a way of approaching ideas and direction, and how it relates to ideologies prevalent on the west coast – how subculture minorities end up becoming absorbed into the cultural majority and in turn, influences and shapes the new majority. In his words: “She grabbed clay from the riverbed so they could mould things on the beach together. She explained how the clay is the energy from the sun broken down and when we move it within our hands, we rerelease the sun’s energy.”

 

In Zoe Hodgson’s most recent body of work, she obscures existing paintings in mostly white paint. Previous imagery (landscapes, figures, city scenes) are reworked and covered in pale pigment. Her painting practice engages the urban with the natural. By concealing visual information below, she works with the paint; coaxing it to take on its own form and being as opposed to becoming what she has abstracted from nature.

 

Eddy Hofbauer (b. 1967, Montreal) works predominantly in paint. His current body of work is an attempt to address the transitional space that exist between interior decor and exterior landscapes, between the public act of participation and the notion of individual choice of the private life in shared urban spaces.

 

Ben Marvin (b. 1987, Calgary) is a Vancouver based artist. Marvin holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and is co-founder of Sunset Terrace, a shared studio and project space. In 2015 he was nominated for The Henry Art Gallery’s Brink Award.

 

Practicing in Vancouver, the paintings Simone Jarvis makes acknowledge the possibilities of color and form. Spaces within the canvas are created where shapes and marks take on structural or anthropomorphic qualities giving them life and disposition. The duality between primed areas of the canvas and unprimed areas creates a subtle tension between colour and form, both beckoning for their performance with the canvas to be recognized. The loose and thin brushstrokes paired with bold colors and hazy monochromatic hues create a depth of field that draws a gaze into the raw canvas. Yet, the primed areas and brushstrokes return the viewer to the surface creating a constant play between the interiority and exteriority of the canvas and picture plane.

 

Jacobo Zambrano is a Venezuelan artist living and working in Vancouver, BC. Practicing outside his native country, Zambrano is interested in discourses around geography, both materially and theoretically. In particular, the desire to question historical structures such as identity and culture which often results in a critique of the notion of the other. By querying the politics of geography, peripheral perspectives -often historically excluded- distinguish themselves as significant voices to be heard through material translation.