The Finkelstein Files: Looking Through Rose-Coloured Glasses



Above: Thierry B. , Entirety, Dreamscape Series, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 152 x 122cm, P.O.A

Above: Thierry B. , Suddenly Clare, 2016, Dreamscape Series, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 200 x 300cm, P.O.A


Above: Thierry B, La Vie En Rose, 2018, Euphoria Series, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 152 x 122cm, P.O.A

Above: Art patron admiring the work by Irish-American artist, Sean Scully, Red Chamber, 2012, Oil on Linen 279.4 x 335.3cm Image: courtesy of artist & exhibition “Facing East”, 2017, @ Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia.

There are days I yearn for rose-coloured glasses to create a softened vision of the world around me. For me, the color pink represents caring, compassion and love. If the pink color stands for unconditional love and understanding, and is also associated with giving and receiving care.

Since pink is a combination of red and white, both colors add a little to its characteristics. It gets the lust for action from the red color, and the white color gives it an opportunity to achieve success and insight. Passion and power from the color red, softened with the purity and openness of the white color completes pink color meaning. The deeper the pink color, the more passion and energy it radiates.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street, Dresden, 1908, Oil on Canvas, 150 x 198cm. Image: Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.

In more recent times, pink continues to be seized upon by artists keen to confound our expectations of what notes or message the floral pigment can confidently carry. Having established a formidable reputation in the middle of the 20th Century as a first-generation Abstract Expressionist, eschewing figurative subjects entirely in the 1950s, Canadian-born American artist Philip Guston reached for pink in a dramatic turn back to representational art in the late 1960s.

 Above: Philip Guston, The Studio, 1969, Oil on Canvas, 180.3 x 186.1cm, Private Collection.

By then, the colour itself had undergone something of a commercial transformation in American retail culture, having begun the century as a shade more often associated with boys and masculinity than fairy princesses and little girls’ dolls. But by the time Guston began introducing a menacing cast of Ku Klux Klan-inspired cartoon goons, whose implausibly pale pink stubby hoods continue to menace popular imagination to this day, the colour had been re-commodified as delicate and feminine. Grabbing pink by the scruff for his unsettling scenes of a seedy Americana, Guston slaps Barbie across the chops.

At the same moment that Guston’s provocative pink was poking the art world in the eye, scientific studies were underway by Alexander Schauss, Director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research, to determine whether manipulations of the colour could help control the behaviour of subjects surrounded by it. The result of Schauss’s investigation was the concoction of the psychologically subtle shade now known as “Baker-Miller Pink”, after the Naval correctional institute in Seattle, Washington where the pigment was successfully tested on the walls of inmates’ cells and credited with a significant calming of aggressive urges.

Above: Michelle Breton, Eclipse Telegraph 23, Acrylic & Mixed Media on Italian Canvas, 183 x 152cm, P.O.A


Above: Michelle Breton, Honey Dreaming, Acrylic & Mixed Media On Canvas, 153 x 137cm, P.O.A

Above: Thierry B., On The Rise, Wonderous Metamorphosis Series, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 152 x 183cm, Private Residence, Toorak.

Yet despite its ability to inspire docility, pink is still picking fights, challenging our perceptions to an aesthetic duel. Upon learning that the British artist Anish Kapoor had signed a contract giving him exclusive rights to a recently engineered colour known as Vantablack (the darkest shade ever devised), and the legal right to prohibit other artists from doing so, Kapoor’s younger contemporary Stuart Semple saw red.

Emboldened by Kapoor’s black embargo, Semple began concocting a supremely-fluorescent pink paint he contends is the “pinkest pink” ever contemplated (“no one has ever seen a pinker pink”, he insists). As a poke in the eye of Kapoor, Semple has made his colour available at a small price to anyone in the world so long as they confirm that they are not Anish Kapoor nor friendly enough with Kapoor to share it with him. En garde, Kapoor. You’ve been pink’d!

Thierry B Fine Art is located @ 473 Malvern Rd, South Yarra.

Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm & Sunday 12pm – 5pm or by appointment on 0404 861 438.

Vicki Finkelstein, Gallery Manager, Thierry B Fine Art.

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