Susan's "subject matter, context and medium...present a coherent artistic vision"
John Torreano, Clinical Professor of Studio Art, NYU

"Great stuff. Love your work."
Seymour Chwast

Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grey Ladies

I have known two grey ladies in my lifetime: my cat, Mrs. Grey, and The New York Times.

Though Mrs. Grey was actually black and white, her colors optically blended to grey.

Before the New York Times added color, she was also called the Grey Lady . She, too, was not really grey, but black and white. New Yorkers affectionately called her the Grey Lady because of the lack of color and sparing use of pictures. The black type and white ground made a beautiful shade of grey. Her message never did though. Black and white told the truth. Black and white is newspaper and has always been the carrier of information journalistically, providing an immediate and reliable source of information.

Artistically, black and white, at least historically rather than implicitly, is more "truthful" than color. Consider and contrast Picasso's choice of black and white for Guernica to depict the true and horrible journalistically derived information with Warhol's use of color for Marilyn to produce his intentionally artificial and "untrue" Marilyn.

The capriciousness of color: Would anyone have any faith in an attorney or businessman in an orange suit, a nun in a multicolored, floral habit, a minister, priest or rabbi in striped yellow and cerulean robes? Is a multi-patterned, brightly-colored, red-cheeked clown taken seriously?

The straightforwardness of black and white: When people are born, christened, confirmed, graduate, married and die, black or white is traditionally worn. That is because black and white drives home the truth of the event.

I miss the Grey Lady newspaper. Perhaps, though, I should be happy that she is still around even in her colored state now that the era of the newspaper is passing. I will miss her even more when she is gone entirely as a physical presence and I have to read the news on my computer.

I miss the grey lady cat too. She always made a bed for herself in discarded newspapers. Grey on grey -- a delightful color block composition. Besides reading and bedding, newspapers are extremely useful and can be repurposed for wrapping fish, insulation, papier mache and fire-starting. Wilhem de Kooning used newspapers to cover his canvases when he finished for the day to keep the paint on them wet and workable. On some of them, the newsprint transferred to the canvas and he left it there. Imparting some of the Grey Lady onto canvas enhanced his multi-colored ladies.

No comments:

Post a Comment