Metallics and Pearlescents

Over the years of my career, I have occasionally dabbled in the use of metallic and/or pearlescent colors. My interest at these times was in their abilities to clash, to kitsch-ify, and to stand apart from the traditional pigmented colors. It was probably during my visits to Europe and Japan a few years ago (when I saw so much art using gold) that I first began to think of the non-traditional metallic and pearlescent pigments as being useful in other ways. During the past few months, I have been attempting to do this. Pigmentation in the real world isn't limited to consistency in sheens, luminosities, or chromatics. Why can't a painting encompass the same range as a seashell?

Juxtaposing pearlescent or metallic colors with traditional pigmented colors is different from putting traditional colors next to each other. For one thing, the non-traditional colors change from different vantage points. A pearl white can be an overpowering, intensely electric, burning white from one angle while only a dull, dead grayed white from another. A gold can be the glowing shiny metal or it can simply be an ochre or yellow depending upon the angle from which it is viewed. Also, as the vantage point changes, so do the nature of the color relationships. That is, what may be a soft harmonious combination from one perspective can change to a harsh discordant combination from another.

Considering the way color relationships vary according to vantage point, working with the reflective pigments has similarities with 3-dimensional art. Speaking as one who has always appreciated 2-dimentional art for its static, unchanging nature, I find this new dynamism to be a real challenge. The traditional color fundamentals predicated on hue, value, and intensity are now confounded with a new and unstable consideration reflectivity. The use of reflective colors appeals to me because it doesn't rely on the same rules that I have always used. Their logic is new to me and their use is an adventure. The paintings have a different look than any I have ever done.

– 2004