In art theory, feelings are often associated with colour. Picasso, perhaps more than any other artists, embodies this in his work. His Blue Period was a manifestation of fried at the loss of a friend to suicide. For the next 3 years, his depictions of those he saw as clinging to the fringes of society were included with a ghostly blue wash of despair. Later in life, in happier times, he spoke of spending days walking through the verdant forests outside Paris, until he was so 'full of green' that he had to rid himself of it in a painting.
While we may not all feel the effects of colour quite so literally as Picasso, it can undoubtedly both influence and reflect our moods. In turn, our perceptions, decisions and actions are all influenced by our emotions.
But our response to colour is complex and personal. Each of us will have our own unique perception of colour. Is the red I see the same as the red you see? How can we know for sure? What does one person love a certain shade of green, when someone else that particular colour seems hideous?
In art theory, experimenting with colour is a way to explore its influence over our emotions. Some colours can make you feel calm; others, irritated or restless. They can make you feel at ease, stimulate your creativity or even make you feel hungry.
Studies into the psychology of colour suggest that certain reactions are part of our evolutionary process and tend to be universal. Differences arise from cultural and subjective influences. So, green is almost universally associated with nature, growth and harmony. Whereas white can be colour of weddings in one culture and funerals in another.
Another intriguing aspect of colour is the concept of simultaneous contrast. On the one hand, logic tells us that the colour of something is fixed and certain. But if you put it against a background of a different hue, it can suddenly look like a completely different colour altogether. Likewise, the tone of our emotions is influenced by the background colour of our lives.
In The Colours of Emotion, I explore the nuances of our emotional reaction to colour. If one's initial response to one of the photographs is - for example - joy, is it also possible to evoke another more subtle or even contradictory emotion in the detail? I begin by using certain colours to elicit an initial response from the viewer. I then challenge this perception with patterns and textures chosen to provoke a secondary reaction. For instance, a vivid stimulating shade of orange is counterbalanced by soothing patterns and shapes. In another piece, the green that normally denotes peace and harmony unsettles you with its starling neon shade and uneven surface.
As I worked on this series, the artworks began to express the feelings I was experiencing during the process; excitement, thrill, and happiness - but also tension and sadness. A project can involve many different emotions over a period and I used them to create this new body of work.
Each piece in this series offers a challenge to the viewer. The initial direct communication gives way to ambiguity as I begin to play with emotions, memories and associations. This presents you with an opportunity to explore your own responses, from confusion and discomfort to pleasure and surprise.
You are invited to simply experience.