the thin blue line

Yves Klein, Big Blue Anthropometry, 1960

“The color blue is associated with two of Earth’s greatest natural features: the sky and the ocean. But that wasn’t always the case. Some scientists believe that the earliest humans were actually colorblind and could only recognize black, white, red, and only later yellow and green. As a result, early humans with no concept of the color blue simply had no words to describe it. This is even reflected in ancient literature, such as Homer’s Odyssey, that describes the ocean as a “wine-red sea.”

Elements III – Anne Katrine Senstad, SL Gallery, April 3 – May 31, 2019.

For Anne Katrine Senstad the color blue …”embodies the universal; ascending light represents the connection with the universe, while horizontal lines can remind us of the open landscape, the sea merging with the sun, perhaps internally experienced as a sensation of tranquility and eternity”.

I wore blue to the opening of the exhibition to fit in with the surroundings. A woman started chatting with me during the opening:  ” I love the color blue. Do you know the work of Ives Klein?  I respond to the canvas more than this environment.  What do you feel?”

Beckoned to Blue, Anne Katrine Senstad is a solo exhibition at the SL Gallery.  This gallery is an art space within a work space.  It is the offices of William Schwinghammer, a lighting designer. 

blue light reflected on the floor of the gallery from Elements III .

The exhibition is composed of three parts: (1)Elements III, light sculptures, (2)a sensory chamber made up of a video loop and sound piece, The Well-Tuned Marimba composed by Catherine Christer Hennix and (3) a group of photographs by Senstad.

The sensory chamber with sound by Catherine Christer Hennix. According the the press release: “the sensory chamber installation represents the internal geography of the viewer’s physical self.”

The sensory chamber is a very small room off the main gallery. It  feels like a “private cubicle.” The images of blue light vibrate accompanied with sound by Hennix.

Another visual from the sensory chamber.  This is one of many screens during the 18:32 minute video loop.

Does the history of the color blue affect how we view the color today?
“The history of blue as a color for everyday man began when the Catholic Church made an important move in the year 431 AD. At this time, the Church decided to color-code the saints, and Mary was given a blue robe. Over time, the shade of blue that Mary wore became what is now known as “navy blue.” Because Mary stood for innocence and trustworthiness, the color blue was seen as a positive light. This same navy blue was adopted by the military and the police to convey a similar essence of trust.” from the History of the Color Blue.

close up – Elements III

Elements III, 2019, Anne Katrine Senstad

Senstad’s installation is an immersive experience.  Is that immersive experience tainted by the individual’s personal experience of the color blue or can this light installation change an individuals concept of the color blue? Senstad’s environment of vertical and horizontal blue lights turn the people wandering around the room  “bluish.”

“Senstad’s interpretation of blue as a physical environment is informed as much by the artist’s curiosity about the emotional, physiological and scientific phenomena that constitute our concept of color; as it serves her lifelong desire to capture the impossible beauty and sensorial properties of color in the abstract”. SL Gallery Press Release

Elements III, light installation

Anne Katrine Senstad, Universals Foldouts 07022012 Blue, 2013. Digital photographic print from scanned original color film negative. Edition: 1/3

Anne Katrine Senstad, Color Kinesthesia 4A7, 2012. Digital photographic c print from scanned original color film negatives. Edition 1/3

“Blue has no dimensions, it is beyond dimensions, whereas the other colours are not….All colours arouse specific associative ideas, psychologically material or tangible, while blue suggests at most the sea and sky, and they, after all, are in actual, visible nature what is most abstract”. Yves Klein

Beckoned to Blue
April 3 through May 31, 2019
SL Gallery
335 West 38th Street.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11am – 6pm ,
Saturday (by appointment), closed Sunday & Monday.

Beckoned to Blue is supported by The Royal Norwegian Consulate General New York.




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