Polly Apfelbaum: Colour Sessions
The works in this exhibition grew out of Polly Apfelbaum's experience in Rome during a residency at The American Academy in 2013 and the artist's particular fascination with the drapery and coloured fabrics depicted in Renaissance and Baroque paintings which she saw there.
The series started out as a constantly changing studio installation with large squares of loosely draped fabric punctuated by hanging beads. The artist describes them as having an improvisational quality; like a musician improvising on a theme. Hence the title “Colour Sessions.”
“I was thinking about the movement and order of thought, of colour and light, the angel in the Fra Angelico Annunciation in San Marco, drapery, the way that curtains conceal and reveal. My work is spatial but always related to painting. The Colour Sessions can be read as monochrome paintings, but they are fragile monochromes – paintings that are falling off the wall. I recently discovered that the sheen of the fabric is the result of weaving threads of two colours together in a very tight weave – it makes it difficult to locate the surface or pin down the color. So even the ‘monochrome’ is actually two colors. The beads bring another spatiality into play, moving farther off the wall, into the space of the gallery.”
As with most of Apfelbaum’s work no two installations of this work are ever the same. They respond to the architecture of the space, keeping certain essential things consistent but introducing variations and change over time. In this regard, there will never be any definitive version; rather each interpretation is as important as any other, with the work always taking on a different meaning in a new context.