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curatorial statement

Libby Sellers is a London-based design historian, consultant, curator and writer.

Color and Production: From the Atom to the Void
The drive to discover, exploit and transform materials into colours has been central to artistic practice since the early hominids dug ochre from the ground and applied pigment to cave walls.

Unlike our prehistoric ancestors, however, so many of the colours we experience today are driven not by nature, but by industry, technology and commerce. New materials and processes – from the petrochemical industries, through electrification and, more recently, electronics – continue to expand on both the range of colours available and the traditional resources of design and art practice.

This exhibition follows these technological developments of colour within design and art. It specifically highlights works in which colour is intrinsic to the work and not transcendent from it. Through advances in pigments, plastics, inert gasses and inks, though painting, sculpture, textiles, furniture and objects it looks to colour as origin; as prime material.

Such a material science based approach gives agency back to colour and reveals information about the various forces of production that influence creative practice at any given time. Consequently, the exhibition also looks to contemporary practitioners who are reacting against, or making commentary on, our petrochemical reliance and are instead turning to alternative, natural and pre-industrial sources for their work.

Libby Sellers,
Curator, October 2019
libbysellers.com

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