Carolina Arts logo

Feature Articles

August 2011

Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, NC, Offers Exhibit Focused on Color

The Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, NC, is presenting the exhibit, Color Study, on view in the Appleby Foundation Gallery through Nov. 6, 2011.

Color has often been treated with reserve. Aristotle believed color’s role was ornamental and supplementary to line. Kant marginalized it as harmless and graceful but without significant use or meaning. Certain hues, like red, have been associated with the feminine, subjective and emotional and have been considered uncontrollable, elusive and threatening. One might suggest that color is dangerous and untrustworthy because unlike thought, as Walter Benjamin argued, color must be seen. When Derrida said “color has not yet been named,” he may well have meant that capturing color in words is nearly impossible as is the notion of attaching a specific meaning to values of color. To do so would mean to master it, deprive it, make it fade.

For those who like to be in control, color is a trouble maker. It oozes, overflows, eludes, tricks and stupefies. Some artists have attempted to take control of color’s uneasiness, to get rid of its spiritual and expressive connotations. One such attempt was art inspired by a color chart with a modernist grid providing a structural framework. And in the heyday of Modernism, critics like Clement Greenberg pursued a narrative which saw Modernist painting as a “peculiar form of tunnel vision leading away from pictorial depth and compositional complexity towards flatness, all-overness and the absence of association.”

Color Study provides a lively discourse between contemporary and historical works and tackles a variety of critical issues surrounding color. The works in this exhibition use color as their primary means of expression. Whatever their stance on these issues, the artists in Color Study all share a steadfast devotion to the exploration of color. For these artists, color is not a mere descriptor; instead, it is a provocative and powerful force.

This exhibition was organized and curated by the Asheville Art Museum. Color Study is sponsored by Ray Griffin and Thom Robinson.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 828/253-3227 or visit (


[ | August 2011 | Feature Articles | Carolina Arts Unleashed | Gallery Listings | Home | ]



Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 2011 by PSMG, Inc., which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - Dec. 1994 and South Carolina Arts from Jan. 1995 - Dec. 1996. It also publishes Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 2011 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited. Carolina Arts is available throughout North & South Carolina.