Famed Swiss psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Carl Jung once stated, “Colors are the mother tongue of the subconscious.” By this, Jung meant that colors are deeply entwined in human psychology, and that by better understanding the natural and creative phenomena of color, humans stood to better understand themselves. Depending on who you ask, a color like blue for example, might signify sadness; but ask another person and they may say it reflects a sense of tranquility, like the glassy surface of a pond on a still, windless day. In ancient Egypt, blue was a protective color, representative of the power of the gods. By the 1900s, artists had become keenly aware of the historical weight and psychological power that particular colors held. One prominent example is Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, who created a body of work with overwhelmingly blue tones. This segment of his career, which lasted from 1901 until 1904, has been termed the Blue Period.
Blue has long been associated with the sky, and by extension, the natural world. Some evolutionary biologists agree that blue has a calming effect on humans, because the first light of dawn and clear skies and waters appear blue. In this way, blue represents the optimal conditions for human survival. This exhibition, Wild Blue Yonder, explores the complex language and effect of color through six works from Rockford Art Museum’s Permanent Collection.
Wild Blue Yonder is curated by Rockford Art Museum Collections Curator Frances Downey.