19 April 2015

Seeing red

If you're in Santa Fe, New Mexico, before 14 August you can see "Cultural Red" at the Capitol Rotunda Art Gallery, a show by the New Mexico chapter of SAQA that "features interpretations of the many ways in which red has been an integral part of our lives, past and present.

One quilt in the show is "Dolce - Sweetly" by Katie Pasquini Masopust, and I don't know what to make of it -
The title is at odds with my first impression, which is of violence - but on second thought, is that title ironic? The composition, the tonality, the choice of fabrics, the enhancement by quilting, the way the eye keeps moving around, the speculation on what it references, what it means - all these mean that looking at it is an art pursuit. And yet, it's so ambiguous, I'm left unsatisfied, unable to decide "what does it mean". Yet more, it's that sense of the unresolved - along with my aesthetic pleasure in it - that makes it memorable.

I'd love to see the other quilts in the show.

To get back to the subject of the exhibition, the colour red and the role it has played in culture. In 2010 the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam had a wonderful exhibition, ROOD, about the colour red, which seems to be available as an app. At the exhibition I took lots of photos (in "interesting" lighting conditions). To "save film" I didn't photograph the captions, which may have been a false economy - though on the other hand, the lack of information leaves us free to make up our own meanings for these objects.

"The objects are displayed in a transparent, flowing setting created by designers Maarten Spruyt and Tsur Reshef, The colour red means something different to everyone, but it also has universal associations. These meanings are numerous and contradictory. Red can stand for happiness, fertility and love but also for power, violence and danger. Red can be romantic, but it can also be deadly. All of these associations are included in the exhibition in themes such as life cycles, energy, power, identity, deities, demons and love" says Antenna International.


1 comment:

Sandy said...

I saw that knitted car at K+S one year...or something like it.