While in Art School, I took a class on color theory. It undeniably changed my perspective on color and the spectrum of the world around us. I began to notice pigmentation and shadows and the brilliance of colors which I had never before noticed or considered. As a result, now I am constantly searching for pieces of art and installations which further entice my appreciation for color.
When we looked at Olga Rozanova’s Untitled (Green Line) I didn’t have much of an initial reaction except for noticing its minimalist tendencies. Even the name was as stark as possible. Upon further inspection, however, I realized that Rozanova was really conveying more about the color than anything else. By being minimalist and making the only thing to focus on in the painiting the green line, the viewer is forced to analyze and inspect, not the line which could be found anywhere, but the green. The color is put in a light and context among great masterys of art. In galleries and even now in our art history class years later, among many human made pieces of art, what stands out in Rozanova’s work is truly the color that she utilizes. Among pictures portraying heros and dictators the color green, the shade and the manifestation becomes as iconic as one of Picasso or Degas’ commercialized paintings.
At the time, Rozanova assumed the role of promoting her color. Now, we have an actual “authority” for that. Pantone, the makers of many art products and color samples has become almost a monopoly in the world of color. They even assert a “color of the year” every spring. This year, it happens to bear a striking similarity to that in “Untitled(Green Line)” It is interesting to look at how the viewing of color has changed over the years, from nature to paintings to commercialized companies becoming authorities. Of course these changes are not surprising due to the nature of our culture. The important part is that color is still represented, and I am happy to say I believe even if commercialized, it is.
Panton's Color of the Year Website