A major new exhibition opened this week at the National Gallery, co-curated by Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Visual Commentary on Scripture project Dr Jennifer Sliwka.
With more than fifty painted objects created over 700 years, Monochrome: Painting in Black and White is a radical new look at what happens when artists cast aside the colour spectrum and focus on the visual power of black, white, and everything in between.
Paintings by Old Masters such as Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres appear alongside works by some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today including Gerhard Richter, Chuck Close, and Bridget Riley. Olafur Eliasson‘s immersive light installation 'Room for one colour' (1997) brings a suitably mind-altering coda to the exhibition.
As Dr Sliwka and co-curator Lelia Packer explain:
'Painters reduce their colour palette for many reasons, but mainly as a way of focusing the viewer’s attention on a particular subject, concept or technique. It can be very freeing - without the complexities of working in colour, you can experiment with form, texture, mark making, and symbolic meaning.'
Monochrome: Painting in Black and White is in the National Gallery's Sainsbury Room until 18 February 2018. See the National Gallery website for more information.