As my residency continued into day 5 at the famous Merz Barn, I became increasing aware that I had slowed my pace of life down. Reading had pretty much taken over as my daily task, then amusing myself by making relatively quick responses to the chapters in the form of mini-projects.
So far these mini-projects were helping me understand the meaning and concept of each chapter, allowing for a deeper knowledge of colour concerns, perceptions and discussion.
Today I had reached the last chapter. It was all about grey. I am not fond of grey, admittedly. The rest of of book had highlighted the use of luminous colour around us; in the media, in our cities, in our general everyday lives and why is is so brilliant and optimistic. I was not looking forward to the chapter on grey. I thought to myself – “no one is ever going to manage to convince me that grey is a worthy colour, is it even a colour? – more like a tone…”
I read on regardless, trusting the voice of the author wholeheartedly. His writing so far had been accurate, believable and educating.
David Batchelor’s first line of the chapter is; “Grey is the colour of dying” – great! The last sentence of the chapter finishes describing the closing sequence of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Andrei Rublev (1966), it reads:
“The last, silent shot returns to the living world and to a panorama of grey, but a quieter, more humane and perhaps more luminous grey.”
LUMINOUS F*****G GREY! The longest and most convincing chapter by far, but all that was written in between these two quotes was the most useful of all. I have been looking at grey as the neutral, bland, pessimistic, nothing colour for years.
I went outside of the gallery and pondered, looked around me; I noticed blues, reds, greens, oranges and all different colours within the greys around me. I realise that this is not a breakthrough for mankind, but I had been so dismissive about grey that I had not looked past the end of my own nose (and I have a sizable nose!) and so this was a small revelation for me personally.
“It is close to impossible in practice to find a grey that is not inflected by some other colour, although the not-grey of grey often only becomes visible as two or more different greys are placed next to each other. It is as if when a patch of grey is first seen it is more assumed than observed.” p.78
Having completed this chapter and finished the book, I went off in the beautiful landscape and woodland of the Cylinders Estate where the Merz Barn is located with my camera and came back with the following set of images – as confirmation that blue -grey, red-grey, green-grey, really do exist and are BEAUTIFUL!
Now I had finished my book and nearly finished my residency – what was I going to do?