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Spectral Squares

26 x 26 in. (66 x 66 cm)

Richard Anuszkiewicz
United States (Erie, PA, 1930 - 2020, Englewood, NJ)

Object Type: Print
Medium and Support: Serigraph
Credit Line: Gift of Benjamin P. Nicolette
Accession Number: 1979.24
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view

Edition: 82/125

Look closely at the center four squares at the center of this image. Does the yellowish color appear to be the same in all four squares, or is it different in each one? If you look closely, you might notice that all four squares feature the same yellow-orange color. However, what might make them appear different are the surrounding blue and green outlines, which are distinct in each square. Inspired by the teaching of Josef Albers, Spectral Squares is a lesson in color interaction, and how the perception of a single color can be affected by others adjacent to it.

[Label copy from Seeing in Color and Black and White, 2018]

Richard Anuszkiewicz is interested in what he calls “color systems” that he uses to create an environment; color is always the main concern in his work. Anuszkiewicz received his graduate degree from Yale in 1954, where he studied color interaction with Josef Albers. During this period, he also read and was influenced by Rudolph Arnheim's writings about art and psychology in Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye. Upon leaving school, he began to paint with complimentary colors of full intensity and observed their dynamic effect. He continued to explore the effects of combinations of colors, using simplified forms, mainly the square. He begins his paintings by choosing the colors very carefully under controlled lighting, calling the colors his “cast of characters” and then begins the painting.

[Label Copy, Collection Connections - Psychedelic, installed September 15, 2010
Curated by Cynthia Culbert]

See general reference in "Richard Anuszkiewicz: Prints & Multiples, 1964-79," Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, 1979: pp. 20-21

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