The exhibition is drawn from the collections of the Whanganui Regional Museum and Sarjeant Gallery.
From the monochrome to the many coloured, this exhibition spans two collections and two venues, and puts colour on display through a diverse array of artworks and objects from the smooth surface of a marble sculpture, to the scaly or iridescent shell of a bug, and explores how colour shapes our response to the environment, to each other, and to the things that surround us in our lives.
The eleven basic colours are explored – black, white, red, green, yellow, blue, brown, purple, pink, orange and grey – in this exhibition. At its most fundamental, colour is a matter of science, the visible wave wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and x-rays, but colour is also an idea, a set of optical effects and physical substances that embody cultural beliefs. These can be very abstract, such as the widespread association of black with death and white with purity. Think of the many phrases related to colour in the English language: seeing red, feeling blue, green with envy, yellow-bellied. To think about colour is to think about cultural values, ways of understanding and relating to the world around us.
The Whanganui Regional Museum explored the six photoelectric colours; black, red, blue, yellow, green and white. Visitors move through six discrete spaces, each with walls painted one of those colours. The effect of creating the coloured rooms is two-fold. The colour emphasises the relationships between the artworks and artefacts, and also their relationships with the colour.
Each space also affects the visitor. The emotional impact of being in the ‘red room’ is very different to that in the ‘blue room’. The journey through each of the coloured areas provides each visitor with an opportunity to not only engage with a variety of artworks and artefacts, but also to examine their own emotional responses to the immersive experience of colour.
Products used: Resene decorative paints.
Colour Selection: Whanganui Regional Museum
Photographer: Richard Wotton, Sarjeant Gallery
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