Artist Research – Joseph Albers

Artist Influence, Artist Influences, Studio, Studio 3, Summer Assessment 2018, Uncategorized
Study for Homage to the Square: Beaming 1963 by Josef Albers 1888-1976

‘Homage to the Square: Beaming’, (1963)


‘Homage to the Square: La Tehuna’, (1951)

Study for Homage to the Square 1964 by Josef Albers 1888-1976

‘Study for Homage to the Square’, (1964)

Study for Homage to the Square 1963 by Josef Albers 1888-1976

‘Study for Homage to the Square’, (1963)


‘Homage to the Square: Apparition’, (1959)


‘Homage to the Square: Ascending’, (1953)

I am very influenced by the work of Joseph Albers, especially his renowned ‘Homage to the Square’ works. In these classic 20th century works, Albers creates different colour palettes, all within the frame of three of four squares, emploring the viewer to understand the works through the relationships between colours and tones. Albers made over a thousand of these works, starting from 1950 until his death, as both prints and paintings – each exploring a new set of colour variants and possibilities. Albers stated:

“They all are of different palettes, and, therefore, so to speak, of different climates. Choice of the colours used, as well as their order, is aimed at an interaction – influencing and changing each other forth and back. Thus, character and feeling alter from painting to painting without any additional ‘hand writing’ or, so-called, texture. Though the underlying symmetrical and quasi-concentric order of squares remains the same in all paintings – in proportion and placement – these same squares group or single themselves, connect and separate in many different ways.”

There is a sense of optical illusion to the works, as different parts of the static and consistent composition seem to recede or pop out, depending on the colour, hue and intensity of the tones against one another. This creates an endless series in which colour can be consistently explored, and an investigation as such, into how colours react against one another, and thus there affect and implications to the viewer.

With colour being central to my own practice, I am very interested in the way that Albers explores colour as a means of creating an environment in which the viewer can project their mood through their feelings and associations towards colour. I find the way that Albers keeps the composition consistent, yet changes the colours very interesting, as that sets the precedent for a constant series, investigated within limitations in order to (have the possibility to) answer the question of colour. In my own work, I would like to experiment further with using the colours I collected from my mall photographs, and turn them into works which would not only tell of the relationships between the different colours, but also perhaps their relationship to space as well.




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