Light and Colour in art is a lively subject for looking, thinking and debate, both from the artist’s and the spectator’s point of view. This lecture series will consider various approaches to colour, from J.M.W. Turner in the early nineteenth century, to James Turrell in the present day.
The interaction between light and colour in painting has always been significant, particularly in the way one colour influences another, and how it can be used to create form and composition. Since Turner’s time, the main debate has been more about constructing with colour, as in the work of Matisse, or colour and the expression of emotion, as in the paintings of Kandinsky. Either way, the subject is about what artists have considered colour to be, rather than its scientific, philosophical, or psychological impact. More recently, the issue has also been about the use of real light, as in the work of Flavin or Turrell, rather than using paint to create the effects the artist might want to achieve.