Color Frequency Illusion

I went to the museum intending to see the Peter Doig paintings recently on display, but I ended up spending more time engrossed by another piece of the collection. The ‘Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon’ or ‘frequency illusion’ is when you learn some obscure piece of information (like a new word or in this case a color) and it keeps popping up afterwards. That blue-green color I was staring to explore on my canvases after coming across some of Peter Doig’s work (not the same ones now in Cardiff Museum) held my attention longer than most artworks can. I journaled my thoughts about the painting. Here’s a section of that:

Right now I sit in front of Dexter Dalwood’s 2003 painting Oscar Wilde, entranced by the swirling night sky filling two-thirds of the canvas. Reds with hints of purple and brown, yellows and golden-oranges, soft greens and dark blues; these are what draw my eye. I know I should be asking questions of the piece to learn what it’s ‘about’, but with most paintingsI’m happy to witness them as a play in color (whether they are intended for that or not). Behind me sits a Francis Bacon with a similar greenish-blue: 1953, Portrait of a Man. To my right is R. B. Kitaj’s 1973, Still (The Other Woman) once again using these familiar hues. But even while surrounded by Francis Bacon’s and Lucian Freud’s, my attention keeps returning to this Dexter Dalwood. Why is that? It feels familiar to my own work, but also as to somewhere I’ve been. It exists as both dream and memory. The lamp’s bright glow is unnerving and the street signs are impossible to read. I think it is the combination of the color’s brightness and subtlety. It feels in the midst of movement, yet somehow silent…

 

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