It's not all black and white
June 9, 2022
To see in “black and white” usually refers to a sense of uniformity and rigid ideas. TOAF61 artists have greater ambitions. In this special editorial, we will discover artists contrasting light and dark tones to create artworks with amazing variety.
James explores techniques like laser cutting, engraving, screen printing, and photography to create wall steel sculptures. In Ombrelle, the viewer is presented with a detailed beach scene in grayscale tones. The visual tension created through contrasting tones of black and white is mediated by the dark range of shadows in shades of grey. In this light, the blacked-out shadows pop out of the page. James creates this effect by carving an opening underneath the umbrellas where we see these pockets of black. In the end, James creates a familiar scene that is strengthened by unique presentation and use of materials.
Life in Black, White, and Gold
Marney uses mediums including powdered charcoal and cold wax to produce beautiful images of bird nests. In Living Life is Fun, a gold brushstroke sweeps a bird’s nest filled with eggs. The viewer can appreciate a sense of movement, life, and divinity as represented by Marney. One might ask, why do we experience such a dynamic effect upon viewing Marney’s work? Marney focuses on creating a balance of organic marks with hard and soft edges to build these nests. As a result, Marney makes thoughtful use of a minimal range of hues and tones to construct this compelling image.
Texture in Blue
As part of the Nocturnal View Series, Sarah handprints pieces like Nocturnal View, Strata in a traditional colour darkroom. This piece presents a unique vision of a blue-hued night scene. Though the blue tint is singular to this collection, the harsh darkness encountered by the viewer emphasises the variety of artwork that can explore themes of dark and light. The limited range of colour and tones allows the viewer to focus on the texture of the subject pictured. The strata (layers of rock) have a lasting history and connection to the earth. Fuller’s work allows us to examine these stacked rigid layers, bringing us closer to environmental scenes and entities that often go unnoticed.
Details in Black and White
Oleg presents an extravagantly detailed drawing of a mythical scene in Four Horsemen of Apocalypse or Carousel II. The horses’ dark hair is illustrated with a weightiness, allowing it to flow in the perceived wind. The lighter tones of the creature overlooking in the sky above contrastingly presents the viewer with a sense of weightlessness. The visual contrast of darkness and light is also thoughtfully employed to provide depth to this drawing. Oleg uses a layering technique with contrast between the whiteness of the foreground and middle ground, compared to the shadowy dark sky in the background to extend this drawing into space. With just pen and ink on paper, these simple materials go a long way in Oleg’s artwork.
Beauty, Cut by Hand
Lady Mushroom is a hand-cut cutout on black paper with intricate details popping out on a white background. In the series called “Women’s Hair-do’s”, Nathalie links women and nature through the quality of beauty. Where there is a lack of colour, the viewer can appreciate the fine line detail in this cutout piece. The swirled lines compliment the delicately constructed hairstyle in a way comparable to the organic lines that compose the mushroom roots, vines, and tree branches. There is plenty of fine detail to explore within the minimalist style of Nathalie’s paper cutouts.
These works are available at #TOAF61!
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