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I See Red


 Mervyn WILLIAMS (New Zealander, b.1940),  Chromatic Invention , 1969, seriagraph on paper. Collection of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū: gifted anonymously in 2011.

Mervyn WILLIAMS (New Zealander, b.1940), Chromatic Invention, 1969, seriagraph on paper. Collection of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū: gifted anonymously in 2011.

Red is an elemental colour: the colour of blood, heat and fire, the colour perceived to be at the top of a rainbow.  Red’s associations are with power and prestige, protection, life and death, fertility, sexiness, virility and vitality.  Most cultures’ languages have a name or words for the colour red, along with black and white, but not necessarily other colours. Red, in the form of red ochre is a pigment found in the art and body adornment from pre-historic times to the present day.

In the Western art world red is regarded as one of the three primary colours; a colour that is not arrived at by the mixing of other colours, like its complementary green (yellow + blue) or its neighbours on the colour wheel, purple (red + blue) or orange (red + yellow) or its variant, pink (red + white).