Monday, August 5, 2013

Portraits of Color: Sara Cwynar

Here at Colour Studio we are interested in people who are interested in color and while we often profile icons, long in the field, we also wanted to introduce you  to a younger individual with new and sophisticated ideas about color. Sara Cwynar is an artist and designer, originally from Vancouver, but now working out of New York, who takes photographs of stuff. Sounds really specific right? But its true. Her work focuses on the collection and visual organization of what might other wise be see as junk: photographs, shopping bags, coffee cups, animal skulls, curlers, fake flowers, rubber gloves, cleaning supplies, food, books, plants, empty soda cans, and plastic spoons.

Much of her work focuses on piles and spills, the accidental curation of objects and colors inherent in any type of collection from hoarding to arranging flowers.   In a recent series titled 'Color Studies' Sara took her magpie instincts a step farther and organized her chaos by color themes:  grey, pink, red, blue, green and yellow. On the surface each image is just a small landscape of assorted stuff of an arbitrary color but the longer you look the more the images become sun bleached collections of the leftovers of day modern life. Mostly faded, the colors and the objects look lost in time, a bottle of orange juice hopefully bought yesterday next to rollers not seen at the dollar store for twenty years.

Essentially shrines to color, these photographs are not just the technical composure of color fields but also the cultural feedback loop inherent in our experience of color. Our specific associations with color are feed by what objects in our surroundings are available in those colors.   In turn,  our decisions to acquire certain objects in specific colors makes those connections stronger over time. Each image exists as a portrait of our color choices and associations not as individuals but as a collective consumer culture.

This  blue photograph illustrates the blue we encounter in everyday life. Not just the paint chip or color swatch but blue in the wilds of our object filled world. Want to see more of Sara's work? Visit her site here and leave us a comment about how you observe color in your world or tell us about an artist who has changed how you see color!

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