"Colorfield Variations is a collection of audio/visual works reinterpreting the Color Field movement by an international array of critically acclaimed sound and new media artists and assembled by curator and sound artist Richard Chartier.
Color Field painting, an abstract style that emerged as a new direction in American painting in the 1950s following Abstract Expressionism, is characterized by canvases painted primarily with stripes, washes and fields of solid color. An alternate but less frequently encountered term for this style is chromatic abstraction. As the first critically acclaimed art movement to originate in the United States's capital, the Washington Color School was key to the larger Color Field movement. As a reaction to the emotional energy and gestural surfaces of Abstract Expressionists, the Color Field artists broke away from the individual mark in favor of pure color itself becoming the main content of the work. By breaking painting down to its formal and fundamental elements, the Color Field artists created pure, simplified, large-format, color-dominated fields on often monumental scale utilizing the full psychological power of color.
Artists such as Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Gilliam, Larry Poons, Gene Davis, Jules Olitski, and others eliminated recognizable imagery from their canvas and presented abstraction as an end in itself with each work being a cohesive image. The Color Field movement can be seen as a precursor to the themes and aesthetics of the subsequent Minimalist movement.
This program in its original form with special live audio/visual performances by Ernest Edmonds + Mark Fell and Sawako at the Corcoran Gallery of Art was commissioned by Washington Project for the Arts as part of the citywide ColorField.Remix events which took place in April-June 2007 in Washington, DC, celebrating The Washington Color School. Since its creation, Colorfield Variations continues to be screened internationally.about the artists and works:
STEVE RODEN . "dark over light earth" (2007) was composed using electronics and harmonium played by Roden and violin played by Jacob Danzinger. Intended to act as a smaller ninth painting it was discreetly installed and created for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibit of eight paintings by Mark Rothko. Roden, using the colors in the eight paintings to generate a score for his own parts asked Danzinger to listen to Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel on headphones and attempt to play along without a previous rehearsal. The video version was created using the same score with Roden finding each color in a catelog of 1940's house paint. Each swatch was a single frame in sequence and layered through simple dissolves. audio+video by Steve Roden, cello by Jacob Danzinger.
ALAN CALLANDER . "CF01" (2007) is based on a meticulous visual analysis of the basic shapes and color palettes found in Mark Rothko's paintings. It generates approximately 200 individual rectilinear forms. audio+video by Alan Callander.
FRANK BRETSCHNEIDER . "looping i-vi" (2004-5) is an excerpt from the larger work Looping I-VI (And Other Assorted Love Songs) (12k, US). The video piece was created to accompany live performances. Published by Freibank, 2004. audio+video by Frank Bretschneider ©2005.
STEPHAN MATHIEU . "Orange was the color of her dress" (2007) was created using processed shortwave radio signals and a visual ride through 256 colors. The audio is an early version of "Michael" originally released on Radioland (Die Schachtel, Italy). Published by Touch Music [MCPS]. audio+video by Stephan Mathieu.
SUE COSTABILE + BEEQUEEN . "AMP_SWELL" (2005) is a handmade video and employs backlighting to photographs and other translucent materials, a digital animation technique created by Costabile. Sound is translated into animated images of black and white photograms of fabrics, textured papers, and watercolors on tracing paper. Originally produced for triMIX: Installation Soundtracks Deconstructed (Innova Recordings, US). video by Sue Costabile, audio by Beequeen.
TEZ . "CF#1~2n" (2007) is part of a continuing series of works generated using software developed by the artist. These ever-changing video-paintings composite two layers of algorithmic color gradients with photo maps and react in real-time to dual-channel sound compositions. audio+video by Tez.
TINA FRANK + GENERAL MAGIC . "Chronomops" (2006) was generated by five rotating cubes moving through space-an abstract architecture of vertical color bars set in endless rotation. video by Tina Frank, audio by General Magic.
BAS VAN KOOLWIJK . "FDBCK/AV - Silver" (2007) is produced with software applications developed for the live performance FDBCK/AV. A feedback control circuit is created between audio and video signals which become two facets of a self-sustaining data stream. audio+video by Bas Van Koolwijk.
CHRIS CARTER + COSEY FANNI TUTTI . "Chronomanic Redux" (2007) Copyright Control 2007. audio+video by Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti.
RYOICHI KUROKAWA . "Scorch" (2005) abstractly represents the act of scorching. It uses digitally generated images and sounds derived from fragments of field recordings. audio+video by Ryoichi Kurokawa.
SAWAKO . "Flirting 07121602" (2007) is from a series of improvisational sketches based on color data from Helen Frankenthaler's painting, Flirt. video+audio by Sawako, cello by Jacob Kirkegaard.
EVELINA DOMNITCH + DMITRY GELFAND . In "Ten Thousand Peacock Feathers in Foaming Acid" (2007), Domnitch and Gelfand use laser light to scan the surfaces of nucleating and dissipating soap bubble clusters. Unlike ordinary light, the laser's focused beam is capable of crawling through the micro and nano structures within a bubble's skin. When aimed at specific angles, this penetrating light generates a large-scale projection of molecular interactions as well as mind-boggling phenomena of non-linear optics recently detected at the Lebedev Physics Institute (Moscow). Viewed in such proximity, the ionic innards of a bubble membrane evoke the dynamics of living cells. audio+video by Evelyn Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand with additional audio by Andy Graydon and Kenneth Kirschner.
ERNEST EDMONDS + MARK FELL . "Broadway One (excerpt)" (2004-5), part of an ongoing Broadway series, explores pure color, tone, and the harmonic relationships between these elements combined with the often simple systems that govern how they change and evolve."-Line
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