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A HEDONISTIC and playful approach to using colour in art is explored in new Coventry exhibition A Kind of Bliss.

The complex language of colour has invaded every aspect of our culture and four artists explore the relationship between line and colour in work made 70 years ago and work made today.

The first exhibit in the Mead Gallery's show at Warwick Arts Centre is pure delight. Len Lye's Colour Box, 1935, was made for the General Post Office Film Unit to inject fun into it's otherwise somber promotional films.

The divide between film and painting is bridged here as Lye uses scratched and stencilled paint on celluloid. The animation is set to a beguine, a popular French dance of the 30s, performed by Don Baretto and his Cuban orchestra.

Silhouettes, dots, lines and marks of every shape and colour flood the screen then disappear in the elaborate dance. It is a pleasure and a joy to watch and shows the complexity of the relationship between colour and space.

Similarly Katy Dove in Luna, made this year, uses digital animation to explore colour in work which shifts between abstraction and figuration. She uses sampled sounds that have personal significance and images which seem at once like doodles and microscopic cell structures. She experiments with the relationship between sound and image.

In Love Love Me Do, 2004, Polly Apfelbaum cuts doodled flowers out of dyed velvet, and lays them in a carpet on the floor. The image harks back to the flower power culture of the 60s and is accompanied by a triptych of wall-mounted Polaroid images called The Love Machine.

Lily van der Stokker's Untitled wall painting and couch in shiny green, 2003/4, is reminiscent of a teenage, schoolbook doodle. She cleverly uses colours that are hard to describe, a blue that is green, a yellow that is brown and a pink that is purple.

Also at the Mead is Expo 21: Strategies of Display, curated by artist Simon Moretti, exploring the inflated roles of design and display in contemporary life.

This clever, compelling and unsettling show uses installation, drawing, photography and object-based work. While looking pristine and immaculate it challenges the viewer to discover when a piece of work stops being a display and starts to become art.

Both shows run until June 26.


HEDONISTIC: Colour Box, 1935, by Len Lye, courtesy of Royal Mail Film Archive and (above) Untitled wall painting and couch in shiny green, 2003/4, Lily van der Stokker
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 4, 2004
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