Robert Swain “Immersive Color”

Minus Space

poster for Robert Swain “Immersive Color”

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MINUS SPACE presents Robert Swain: Immersive Color. This is the renowned, NYC-based color painter’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery and it will feature a suite of three new large-format paintings produced during the past year.

Color has been the primary focus of Robert Swain’s painting practice for more than 50+ years. It is both the content of his paintings and a relentless problem to be solved. In the late 1960s, he began to conceive his own singular color system organized around the characteristics of hue (a pure color), value (lightness / darkness of a color), and saturation (the intensity of a color). The color system Swain envisioned decades ago consisted of 30 distinct yet interrelated colors organized in incremental steps around a circle with no beginning or endpoint. He then ran each of those colors across the qualities of value and saturation yielding an exhaustive color library of 4,896 distinct hues, each calibrated by eye and mixed by hand.

Swain’s three large paintings on view in his new exhibition, ranging in size from 9 x 9 to 10 x 12 feet, present us with hundreds of distinct colors organized into square grids which are subtly modulated by hue, value, and saturation. Modulation is the alchemical element that transforms the raw materials of flat acrylic paint on a smooth surface into what the artist describes as “pure color sensation”, thereby creating an undulating pictorial space, a dynamic sense of movement, and a charged emotional experience.

Swain remarks, “Perceptual psychologists believe that humans have the ability to see hundreds of thousands or even a million distinct colors, which in turn allows infinite relationships to be constructed and experienced. As such each color maintains its own unique identity, sensation, personality, or feeling. When combined with other colors, their sensations change to produce a complex range of emotional experiences.”

He continues, “In my new paintings on view in this exhibition, I’m pushing the extremes of human perception to its limits. There is a vast vocabulary of color sensations that have yet to be formalized and presented to the viewing public to be experienced or explored.”



from September 11, 2021 to November 20, 2021

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