(Re: Yellow) “I am” and I am glad, hello!

Responding to one of Karen’s newer paintings:

Karen Wood installing her work at Spitlefields Studios (London)
for the Urban Rural Exchange exhibition this month

A depth to dive into
A shadow, a black.
Spaces to skid in with glee
Hidden from view
A secret me.
Behind my eyelids
An inner me.

A shock of gold
A beam of splendour
A heart-lifting brightness
An etheral sun-smile
Beaming from the heart of me
“I am”.

Aglow
Aloft in the ceiling
this painting beams down on me
Dripping tendrils of gold on the floor
Painting the lines to dance with
Borders to investigate
Blocks of view with which to
Orientate.

I see myself in it;
There is an order and a wildness
in this one Karen
I said to you as soon as I saw it
This is my favourite yet
Not just because yellow has that effect on me
But because it is balanced on
the edge of vision.


Dear Karen,

I wrote this word flow for you, in response to your painting. As you know I have mentioned that yellow is usually my favourite colour in any situation that a favourite may be stated. Not to use in my palette per say, but to feel. Yellow feels good.

I have been exploring tri-colour symbolism for a while now, (red-black-white) and was rather delighted when I discovered yellow is often the fourth colour to emerge in any language according to linguists Brent Berlin and Paul Kay. Da Silva writes:

Specifically, they found that if a given language contains only two color terms, these refer to white and black. But if a language contains three terms, then it contains (in addition to the previous ones) a word for red. And so on and so forth concerning—in the following order—green or yellow, then blue, then brown, and finally purple, pink, orange, and gray.


Francisco Vas Da Silva (2017) ‘Red as Blood, White as Snow, Black as Crow: Chromatic Symbolism of Womanhood in Fairy Tales

I shared this discovery with Andy Jones last spring when he shared his maps with us at a CAS Artists CRIT and I noticed he is using the same primary colours to represent his own symbolic language.

I am really tickled by the idea that in language, these colours emerge first. Perhaps that makes them good tools for finding our own languages. In your case, with a colour palette taken from the roads of London, it occurs to me as if for the first time that you are picking up the symbolic visual language of the road system (a recognised cultural language of instruction) and dissenting (deviating) from the traditional interpretation. Your dissent is saying there is so many more ways that you can move in these spaces, not only that, you have created a visual language to express it and which others might learn to read.

In my case, I am not quite sure I have the words yet for the terrain of my cultural deviation, so I instead leave you with this:

The use of yellow here is in part inspired by your painting. In this digital drawing my impression of your painting merges with an encounter with Rapunzle (who I saw had dissented by chopping off her golden hair — an act of defiance). See my recent blog post ‘the first telling’ (of ‘The Woman with No Hair’) to decode what the red box and the gold lines represent (or devise your own meaning).


Since Susan Merrick took photos of me on Tuesday, my digital sketchbook has exploded with images. Like your fast manipulation of electrical tape, digital tools have a useful ability to keep up with my thoughts as I test out ideas.

Published by Maija Liepins

Australian born, mixed-media artist, Maija Liepins focuses on the sensory and emotional experience in her visual dreamscapes. Repetitive actions such as dream journals or collecting visual impressions with her mobile phone generates material with which to reveal the subtle, ‘underneath’. Maija’s drawings and films allude to a symbolic mythology as if the intangible substance of dream is a material as real as ink and clay. Her practice is driven by a pursuit of freedom - to express, to create, and to collaborate without inculturated inhibition.

One comment on “(Re: Yellow) “I am” and I am glad, hello!”

  1. Maija, I love the image with the three versions of you at the bottom… I haven’t quite worked out why yet, maybe because there’s something liberating in allowing multiple versions of yourself to emerge and speak with one another? I’ll ponder on it some more, thank you, you have planted a seed!

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