Paint It Black
Willem de Kooning once said about his black-and-white paintings, “I needed a lot of paint. . . . I could get a gallon of black paint and a gallon of white paint—and I could go to town.” Many artists have used a purely black or near purely black canvas as either a way to express a human emotion or to explore color relationships within a monochrome. Rauschenberg’s untitled black paintings were perhaps influenced by his mentor’s intention to push colors into something other than what they actually were. He also mixed in other things with his paints, mainly newspaper, to activate the surface and create values other than black.
This exhibition is intended to explore the many ways in which artists can use a monochromatic scheme to portray different meanings. Many of the artists who did these color field paintings were intending a sublime and/or spiritual experience for their viewer. Many of the works included use not only paint, but alternative materials like newspaper, aluminum foil, dirt mixed with paints to make them thicker, which Rauschenberg himself was not afraid of doing. These works share the same ideas that Rauschenberg believed in, as well as Abstract Expressionist ideas. They are evidence of how the same artistic idea can be translated differently through many people.