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March 17, 2022 - By Joy Reed Belt

"Untitled" by Ivy Hayes

Spring began strutting its stuff Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The air was still a bit crisp, but the light was amazing. While taking my dog for a walk, I felt like my body and soul were starting to emerge from their winter cocoon. Yesterday a friend sent me a pot of beautiful hydrangeas that were a kind of “Persian Melon” color that I have always associated with Spring. The flowers reminded me that as a teenager, I would announce and rejoice in each season by changing the shade of Revlon lipstick I wore. Those lipsticks brought me such pleasure. First of all, just having the right to wear vibrant lip colors was hard won in my family. My mother would have preferred that I wear the Tangee brand of milder colored lipsticks, that were made expressly for teenagers, but I loved the intensity, as well as the names, of the Revlon lipsticks. I had two winter favorites: “Fire and Ice,” a bright classic red, and “Cherries in the Snow” which was a dark fuchsia. When I put them on I felt so grown up and so alive. Revlon’s “Persian Melon” was a Barbie-pink shade of lipstick rather like the inside of a watermelon. Revlon recently retired these shades from the mass market, but they can still be purchased in sets.


John Wolfe, "S21-19," Steel, Ceramic, Wood and Found Objects, 38 x 20 x 8 in.

Fast forward to 2022, working everyday with art, I respond in much the same way to the differing palettes that artists select to communicate with the viewer as I did as a much younger person with the magical colors that could be found in a lipstick tube, For instance, this month we are featuring the deeply-hued abstract florals of Katherine Kerr Allen, the more subtle monochromatic paintings and sculptures of John Wolfe, and large white face paintings by Moriah Gonzales. The works of each of these artists serves to engender the viewers’ pleasurable anticipation of Spring and its promise of renewal. Installed in the Collector’s room and galleries throughout the building are a variety of subject matters, many of them have been created with vibrant colors such as a group of stunning large figurative paintings by Ivey Hayes, a deceased artist from North Carolina who honored and painted what he knew. His paintings are stunning and require our participation in the daily lives of his subjects. Beth Hammack, whose annual exhibit will open in May has told me she has spent the last several months experimenting with color and that her new work will have some color surprises.


Katherine Kerr Allen, "Bloom 10," Acrylic on Yupo, 27 1/2 x 21 1/2 in.

During the 17th Century, Sir Isaac Newton discovered the color spectrum and developed the color wheel. When color is transmitted from the eye to the brain, the brain releases a hormone affecting the emotions and energy levels. Color theory has really become a “thing” in advertising and product development. Green is often associated with the environment, health issues, and cleanliness. Pink is related to femininity, delicateness and fashion. Soft yellow is commonly used for babies or young children. Blue refers to masculinity, safety and harmony. A lot of banks and insurance companies use blue as a primary color. Red is a favorite of promoters because it represents power, wealth, and luck. Gray is associated with anxiety and depression. Violet or purple connotes royalty, glamor, charm and or mystery. Interior designers have identified eleven colors associated with the advent of Spring. They are: Pistachio or Dark Mint Green, Kelly Green, Blush Pink, Terracotta, Sky Blue, Buttercup Yellow, Marigold, Navy Blue, Lilac, Tulip Red and Royal Blue. While these are all wonderful colors, they don’t say Spring to me as much as the memory of my tubes of Persian Melon lipstick.

Beth Hammack's New Work, "Untitled"

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