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clyfford still | museum
Paintings by Clyfford Still
Paintings by Clyfford Still

Colorful Symphonies Strategically Strung Together

By Ashley Ludkowski

“People should look at the work itself and determine its meaning to them” – Clyfford Still

From black to yellow, and everything in between, Still strategically strings together the forces of color to create symphonies. Honoring his experimentation and endless boundaries, the Museum has dedicated the current exhibit, RED/YELLOW/BLUE (and Black and White): Clyfford Still as Colorist, to showcase his multicolored talent. The colorful palette laid out within this exhibit excites your senses with a burst of emotions as you advance from room to room.

What does yellow mean to you?

Do you find black and white boring?

Have you ever seen so much blue at once you don’t know what to do?

What is your first reaction to red?

Each gallery is dedicated to a different color, and carries with it a new sensation and opportunity to create a story. Analyzing each composition, one can only wonder what Still was thinking when he created a splash of purple paint upon a predominately black canvas.

As I wandered through the galleries, I found myself triggered with a flourish of memories by each color. The red reminded me of times when I was so overcome with an emotion I could explode. Moving from the high tension of the red gallery, the yellow gallery immediately brought me back to my childhood, creating that loving nostalgic feeling within me. Fresh and curious like a child, my eyes darted around to soak it all in as fast as I could.

Within the white gallery, I found my mind contemplating its secrets.

Color is universal language. It is something everyone can relate to. My mind immediately found an outlet through a story or memory when I stood in front of a new piece. This exhibition allows you to journey through your mind without any constraints, all through the power of a color, while also contemplating the meaning behind Still’s brush strokes.

The exhibition explores Still’s use of color at a time when many of his fellow artists were focusing on Black and White. Experimenting with colors, Still created a style for himself that was unlike others around him. He was also an artist who was open to interpretation of his work. Abstract Expressionists were very interested in what it felt like to be in a painting. Displaying Still as a colorist challenges your response to color as you dive into a new sensation within every piece.

Explore the emotions Still can create within you as you travel through his colorful world, and please let us know your thoughts. This exhibition is extended for viewing through May 19, 2013.

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