A Fear of Contamination and Corruption Through Color
Throughout the history of Western aesthetics there has been a division among the elements of design: drawing, sculpture, and architecture were seen as masculine and the most important of artistic elements and mediums. These masculine elements in art were considered clean, holy, controlled, and rational, while color was seen as feminine and exotic. Color was considered to be dirty, emotional, uncontrollable, and irrational, thus giving the impression through a patriarchal lens, that color and elements associated with it must be subdued and controlled.
Each painting included in CHROMOPHOBIA portrays a hyper-masculine and violent classical sculpture depicting a death, kidnapping, or rape of a feminine mythological figure. Combined with the sculptures are the color arrangement from classical paintings characterized by stories of women’s rage and retaliation. They depict women repossessing the power that was taken from them repetitively by the common visual narrative of the time. Removing content and context and minimizing the paintings to nothing but the sum of their colors, they redefine a problematic history of imbalance between the sexes. An imbalance that continues to this day. Creating the illusion of paint dripping and reflecting over the white marble sculpture gives the effect of dirtying the narrative of the original sculpture in order to entangle the stories of both artworks.
Recontextualizing the seemingly disparate works of art creates new meanings and gives us a way to evaluate contemporary ideas of the sexes through a classical lens. In this way the work elicits a response to the question, “has anything truly changed?”.