Philosophers have associated meaning to color since the time of the ancient Greeks, from theoretical principles in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci and his contemporaries to the first color wheel that emerged from the prismatic mind of Sir Isaac Newton. A century later, Goethe published “Theory of Colours” matching colors to occupations and character traits—from tyrants to heroic adventurers; from hedonists and poets to historians and philosophers like himself. The French industrial chemist Chevreul, a developer of dyes, worked together with the Impressionist painter Delacroix to transform scientific enthusiasm into the exploding palettes of young artists. Following Jung’s studies of color symbolism from mandalas to Picasso, the direct line from Kandisky at the Bahaus to Josef Albers’ 1963 publication, “Interaction of Color,” created an emphasis not only on seeing color but also feeling the relationships between colors.

 

Today we suspect that infinitely more important than what happens between the colors themselves is the relationships between colors and human beings. Configuring lives that ignore color and light are not good strategies for productivity and well being. We can foster excitement and summon energy with accented, bright colors that draw our eyes or we can relax and soothe ourselves with the wavelengths lower in the spectrum, dominant in nature, to feel calmer and more hopeful, to cultivate efficiency and focus.

 

Can our “experience” of color lower our heart rate, our blood pressure, calm our

breathing or reduce our anxiety without much input from our highest brain functions?

Everyone perceives color differently. Our biology is affected not only by optical illusions created by light sources that affect our perception of wall colors and objects but also by factors as complex as what environment we might think of as “natural” or our life experiences including our religion, gender, race, and nationality. In other words, culture, context, and circumstances transform the color associations and symbolism that have always interested philosophers into the stuff of our daily physiological and emotional lives.

 
 

Exhibition artists: Michael Aerts, Joseph Benoit, Margaret Evangeline, Eduardo Gil, Michelle Jaffe, Maria Joao Salema, Maria Larsson, Antoni Maznevski, Seckin Pirim, Leo Valledor, Vargas- Suarez Universal, Ekrem Yalcindag 

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