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Color Me Creative!

Josef Albers. Homage to the Square, 1962.

Josef Albers. Homage to the Square, 1962.

Josef Albers, "Homage to the Square: Arctic Bloom", 1965.

Josef Albers, "Homage to the Square: Arctic Bloom", 1965.

Back in March I had the great opportunity to attend the “Josef Albers: Innovation and Inspiration” exhibit at the Hirshhorn. His “Homage to the Square” pieces were the very reason for my visit. I love colors and think that they are a language within themselves.  To see Albers’ work–pure color–was exciting and reminded me how in different combinations colors can be a creative force to reckon with.

I learned that Albers’ “Homage to the Square”, which was more about homage to color, was about experimenting with color since he believed that color had “no inherent emotional associations” and that he could “demonstrate that any color can be perceived differently and trigger ambiguous, contradicting and deceptive effects especially in relation to another color.” As I looked at the many color combinations, I realized what Albers was after. What I had previously learned about red triggering alert or blue triggering sadness wasn’t always the case when I was experiencing some of Albers’ pieces. I could have stared at “Artic Bloom” for hours…which invoked feelings of anything but sadness.

His pieces take time since you have to soak in the colors and their relationships, but it is well worth it for anyone interested in the power of color. If you get the experience to see them in person, I’d strongly recommend it. The works displayed at this exhibit used many of the same colors, but in a lot of different combinations. However, with each piece I saw and felt something different. Seeing how he was able to create effects and emotions, some unexpected, from combining certain colors was simply beautiful. Sometimes things less complicated can be shockingly striking. Just think – with color, the creative possibilities are endless!


  1. ccarter wrote:

    This comment is completely subjective.
    When I see pieces like this, it kind of pisses me off. Not to say that I don’t appreciate the research and study that went into this piece. I respect that the artist took the time to study color relationships and the effects thereof, but when I look at this piece I see some squares laid on top of some other squares. Sometimes I can’t believe I can call this art.

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
  2. LindseyMarie wrote:

    No matter how much I learn and know about the Bauhaus and all of the instructors involved, I am still in awe of their forward-thinking approach. Lessons that instructors, including Albers, were teaching are STILL IN USE TODAY. That says a lot.

    I enjoy this quote from Ellen Lupton, out of ‘Thinking with Type’

    “In the aftermath of the Bauhaus, textbooks of basic design have returned to elements such as point, line, plane, and color, organized by principles of scale, contrast, movement, rhythm, and balance.” – Lupton

    Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink
  3. Jung wrote:

    I’m a strong believer that the color really effects people’s thoughts and emotions and there are thousands of ways to represent the colors.

    Monday, May 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink