friday art blog: Blue

Mutation 3 by Norman McLaren
(Screenprint, 8/10, 1975)

The Art Collection is looking forward to opening its doors again very soon.
Each year, our exhibitions, events and workshops are directly inspired by the research of the University, and in the coming academic year 2021-22 we will focus on health and wellbeing under the umbrella title ‘The Art of Wellbeing’.

As a part of this theme, we are currently busy curating works from the permanent collection into an exhibition entitled ‘Blue’, to be displayed in the Crush Hall of the Pathfoot Building.

Stay Blue by Olivia Irvine
(Oil on canvas, 1991)

This primary colour has long held a special significance. Designated a ‘cool’ colour, it is often used in art to portray distance or shadows and it is also associated with sadness: Picasso’s ‘blue period’ pictures were painted during a time of depression for the artist, just as ‘the blues’ denotes a style of melancholy music played in a minor key.

But the emotional power of blue is also used to positive effect. Its calming, spiritual nature has been appreciated for centuries. In meditation it is used as a healing presence, and is universally perceived as restorative and harmonious.

Splash-over by Rosalind Lawless
(Screenprint with true-grain, 2019)

Pigments which produce blue have throughout the ages been highly prized – the semi-precious mineral lapis lazuli from the mountains of Afghanistan was used in ancient Egyptian jewellery, and later ground down to produce the ultramarine Renaissance robes of the Virgin Mary; cobalt was used in eighth century Chinese porcelain and for the deep cathedral blue of medieval stained glass.

Cool Interior – A Remembrance by Robin Philipson
(Oil on canvas, 1974)

More recently, blues have been produced synthetically and now artists have a wealth of tones available. In this exhibition we invite you to enjoy a variety of works from the permanent collection, and to reflect upon your own perception of this colour.

Homage to Jonny by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham
(Screenprint, 2002)

We hope to be able to invite you to view this exhibition very soon. And then you will have a chance to ponder…..what does blue mean to you?

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