Artists show no fear toward primary colors in new exhibit

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By Nancy Coombs

“Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?” Thirty-two artists who took on this challenge display art in the new exhibition at The Art Center at Fuller Lodge. Some, like Molly Hyde, approached the primaries by creating a separate selection for each color.

Hyde features the same silver platter in each of her oil color studies, with “Yellow Apples,” “Red Peppers” and “Blue Bottles with Red Plum” capturing the subtle nuances lighting and reflection can add to the primary theme.

According to Mary Carol Williams, “Paintings can be more harmonious with such limited palettes.” She said, “Watercolor pigments are unique in their ability to mix directly on the WC paper and produce color and texture variations that add spice to a painting.”

Using just cobalt blue, permanent red and Winsor yellow, Williams demonstrates this beautifully in her watercolors “Iris Shadows” and “Pink Magnolia.” Additionally, her photograph, “Scarlet Macaw,” shares the R-Y-B palette displayed on one of our feathered friends.

Jerry Beguin did a new twist in his art, a three-dimensional piece called “Billy’s Pie.” Initially Beguin was intrigued by a friend’s photograph. In what might appear as a simple subject, he envisioned hidden faces and created a painting using the primary colors. Later, when he caught a glimpse of the painting he recognized its three-dimensional possibilities, and by experimenting with different glasses discovered that the painting “pops” when viewed through three-dimensional chromo depth glasses, which will be available at the Art Center to enhance visitors’ experiences.

“That’s what we artists do,” Beguin said. “We experiment.”

The wooden bowls by Paul Stafford epitomize this artistic “thinking outside the box.” Stafford’s “Laced Bowl” and “Flaming Box Elder Zippered Bowl” add a twist of imagination to both the concept of a bowl and the idea of wood.

One is a tulip shaped bowl surrounded by petals laced together around the outside, while the other, reminiscent of an artichoke, has zippers lining the outer petals, as if it could pull itself closed and zip up at night.

Stafford, who sent his work from Littleton, Colo., is one of several artists who applied to the Art Center exhibit from far afield. Another woodworker, Wayne Kiser, sent three pieces from Acton, Calif., including “Follow Me,” a box sprouting thorns. Local artist Jenn Moss’s photograph “Blue Ice” shares wall space with her daughter Jessica Moss Hall, of Santa Cruz, Calif., who shows the photograph “Thai Sunset.” Barbara Brandel of Tucson, Ariz., shows three pieces in which postage stamps and maps are ingeniously collaged into human figures.

“Global Tapper” holds the world above legs dressed in multi-colored stamps while sporting an international stamp hat. Gerrit Van Ness of Mount Vernon, Wash., entered the Red Dominant show a year ago, and returns to this show with “Jones Beach Memories,” a shiny beach ball to brighten up the winter.

These long-distance entries compliment the collection of paintings, photographs, weavings, a mosaic and a quilt by artists from Los Alamos and nearby communities.

Although the exhibit can be viewed online at www.artfulnm.org/WhosAfraidofRedYellowandBlue/, seeing   the artwork in person is the only way to truly experience the artists’ intentions. Visitors to the exhibit can try on three-dimensional glasses, or turn the crank on Gordon McDonough’s mechanical device “RYB” to make red, yellow and blue shapes dance in a delightful hip-hop.

Everyone is invited to the opening reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the Art Center. “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow or Blue? will show from February 20 – March 21.