Notes on grey

There is cold grey and warm grey like with all colours. Searching among notes on grey, in art but also in colour as therapy, I came across more or less the same: grey is not a colour; it is rather the absence of it, or an in-between phase; something like the point of indecisiveness, the proof of doubt, the sign of shutting-off, the moment before the flat-line appears. Before discarding it though as of lesser importance, I sat to think what grey meant when I started painting and how it moved along even during my most colourful periods, mostly as the obvious absent. Grey was one of the five tones that we would use in drawings; if I look at it now, we were actually using only grey, four tones of grey and white; no black. Later, when passion was allowed to come aloof, black became the dominant, tones became less in number with emphasis on contrast; grey was pushed towards elimination, the pariah between options. Using grey in order to make colours shine next to it was the easy way to my eyes and definitely did not interest me; I would always turn away from such paintings; a kind of cannibalistic approach which still holds my hand with vigour. Pure colour in its utmost clearness and brightness should be able to stand without tricks; and it did of course. This however lead at a certain point to a dramatic switch, from one series to the next, from bright colour to absolute black and white. Black, with white as its reflection carries colour; it contains all the colours. Where colour shakes our soul happily, black shakes it to its core; something to look for and demand from a painting, I thought; not easy to do though and even less to keep at it as there lies the thin border of (in)sanity.

Grey at the opposite side is useful for self-sedation when the way to the bottom reaches its end and you feel as hollow as the invisible wo-man. This curiously concerns a big number of people of the rich world who seem to buy their own boredom or camouflage themselves in order to move safely on the work floor. It is discomforting to think that art embraces the camouflaging trick and accepts the sedative role instead of moving towards smashing the numbness.

Grey appears in paintings every now and then, when still in process; when working with layers. At the second look the act of braveness is called in. Confessed: staying edgy through the years is something to do; smashing the napped greyness is too.

"day 169" from the series "360 days"
“day 169” from the series “360 days”

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