The Dot is in the Park

Paul Kolker presents The Dot is in the Park at the Paul Kolker collection from May 25 through July 28, 2017. The exhibition of paintings, prints and light sculptures is an experiment testing how the viewer perceives elemental colors placed one next to the other; and serves as a study for the resultant myriads of optically mixed colors in tints and shades… as well as a spectrum of feelings, which during the process of perception are generated in the viewer’s brain. The lead painting is Kolker’s The Dot is in the Park; a still of a virtual LCD display with Kolker’s dot gridded transformation of Georges Seurat’s Sunday in the Park on the Isle of La Grande Jatte, 1886, currently displayed at The Art Institute of Chicago.

It should be no surprise that the playwright James Lapine characterized Georges Seurat, the chromoluminarist and divisionist-pointillist artist portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal in the current Broadway show, Sunday in the Park with George, as one who is enamored with color and light, and how each influences human affect and feelings. Lapine’s conception of the scientific and technological extrapolation of Seurat’s nineteenth-century painting practice by the painter’s progeny a century later …also named George; is an electrified light sculpture called “Chromolume #7 … [a] post-modern machine [that] glows a range of cool colored light.” A serendipitous reference to Kolker’s light sculptures.


Paul Kolker: georges blue on red, 2017 - © 2017 Paul Kolker. All rights reserved. Contemporary Artist NYC

Paul Kolker: georges blue on red, 2017
acrylic on canvas
55 x 55 inches

Kolker’s experimental group of six posterized color field portraits are based on a black and white photographic print of Georges Seurat. The color combinations in the paintings, as a control in Paul Kolker: Georges in Blue on Red, 2017 depicted above, test Hering’s opponent color theory developed in the 1880s, at the time of Seurat’s career. The theory is about sensory pathways from the back of the retina to many parts of the brain. The theory explains how color, particularly opponent colors with darkness and light can affect our mood, feelings and behavior. Today, with brain scanning technologies, synapses light up at the lateral geniculate nucleus; the way station to the cognitive, memory and emotional banks in the brain. In one pathway, blue courses with yellow; in another pathway, red courses with green. The opponent style combinations are also manifested in two types of color blindness; one in red and green color perception; and the other in blue and yellow perception. What Hering theorized more than a century ago, is today’s empiricism… as the RGBYKW acronym for the four elemental physiologic colors, plus black and white.

Paul Kolker (b. 1935) is a New York based artist with doctorate degrees in medicine and law. He is Fellow American College of Surgeons, Fellow American College of Legal Medicine and Emeritus Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at North Shore/ LIJ Glen Cove Hospital, having practiced cardiothoracic surgery on Long Island from 1969 to 2013. In October 2001 Kolker moved his Long Island studio to his current address in the Chelsea art district so that he could produce his works and curate his exhibitions as an experiment in perception. His studio and gallery have together become his laboratory in which the viewer is the measuring instrument for Kolker’s art as a perceptual experiment. The Dot is in the Park is Kolker’s fifty-eighth solo exhibition.

In Paul Kolker: The Dot is in the Park, fourteen works are curated by the artist and serve to test the viewer’s perception; primarily, as to how color pairings affect our feelings and behavior. The exhibition is on view at the Paul Kolker collection adjacent to the HighLine at 511 West 25th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues from May 25 through July 28, 2017. Currently on view are: Paul Kolker: Color, Color… Embossed Decalcomania; at 511 West 25th Street through May 18, 2017.Paul Kolker: Abstract Decalcomania; is ongoing at 600 Third Avenue.


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