Gwen Meharg

Like the Flame

  • Acrylic On Canvas
  • 60 x 60 x 3 in
  • $6,000.00
  • Gwen Meharg

After completing this painting I did a workshop residency at MassMoCA in North Adams, Massachusettes. It was in October and the drive up the mountain was nice. The drive down the mountain a week later was spectular and it looked just like this painting! I was shocked and thrilled. I had never seen this kind of fall color.

This painting was done after Like the Sky and Like the Leaf and a continuation of color exploration and labels. We are all familiar with the color wheel, but did you know that that color wheel isn't the same across cultures. And it definitely was not before WWII when soldiers started handing out crayolas to children as they moved from place to place.

What we are able to SEE is determined by how we label things. CRAZY! So, before crayons, many Asian cultures did not distinguish between blue and green. They were the same color differentiated by "like the sky" or "like the leaf." A north African people group has names for 20+ colors of green. I am good at distinguishing colors, but when I looked at the nine squares, even KNOWING one was different, I could not find it. MIND BLOWN. I could NOT see the difference which was easily identifiable for children in this culture.

SO, these are a couple of four-foot square paintings that I did after hearing the NPR story about the history of how humanity began understanding colors. First, we had dark and light. Red was added. Then yellow. You get the idea.

So I am walking around enjoying blues and greens and wondering what I CAN NOT SEE, what I can NOT UNDERSTAND because of a dearth of vocabulary. What LABELS are skewing my insight into the world and its inhabitants?

There is more to the story of these paintings, but this is the fun part. Peace!

  • Subject Matter: Abstract Conceptual
  • Collections: Marking Time
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