Studio Watch

Exhibition Title:  ‘RED, BLUE, YELLOW, GREEN’

Artist:  Nora Curiston

This exhibition is a remounting of four pieces originally created as part of a show called ‘Colour:Light’, at the Langham Gallery in Kaslo.

‘EXAMINING RED’started out as a study of ‘red’, but eventually became for me more about something intensely studying itself, looking inward.  The standard study lamp has been reversed so that instead of illuminating something else it is looking inward at its own ‘redness’.

‘BLUE WOOD’ started originally as a work about the pine beetle infestation.  A lot of artists have been doing work about its devastation and I wanted to approach it from a slightly different angle.  When the beetle kills the tree it also produces a blue stain in the wood which is actually quite beautiful.  I wanted to recreate this mechanically.   In the end I found it to be a very difficult task.  I had to order a special light bulb and a friend gave me some theatrical ‘gels’ which look like coloured cellophane and which are used to create coloured light in a stage set.  I found it interesting that it was so difficult for me to create something that the beetle can do very simply as a part of its natural organic process.  In the end the piece began to feel like it was about more than the beetle.

‘MACHINE FOR MEASURING THE TEMPERATURE OF YELLOW’ looks at the idea of experiencing colour through a sense other than sight.  Artist, Joan MacGregor, was a master colourist.  Several years ago when health issues began to prevent her from painting she gave away her art supplies and equipment.  She gave me her wooden paint box.  I loved it and the way it was obviously so well used and covered with the marks of an active artist.  I decided I would build a fanciful and complicated piece of equipment for measuring the ‘temperature of yellow’.  This would contrast with the ease with which Joan could tell the temperature of any colour in her palette.  For her this sense would be as natural as breathing.  Joan has since passed away and is sadly missed.

‘DANCING IN GREEN LIGHT’ was originally looking at the way colours can be taken over by various movements.  Green is an example of a colour that has come to exemplify an entire way of life.  I’m also aware of how often we are foiled in our attempts to live a ‘green’ life, changing our habits only to find later that our new habits can be just as environmentally problematic as our old ones.  I was thinking of the little dancer spotlighted in green but actually just going round in circles.  These were all initial thoughts, but in the end I just liked the fanciful nature of the piece.  I hope viewers will free to twist the little handle and see her dance.

These pieces were created with the technical assistance of Bob Danish, who created most of the special metal brackets and fixtures.

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