Consciousness Of Yellow

Consciousness Of Yellow, oil on canvas, 20x16in.

Consciousness has been an enigmatic subject for scientists and philosophers alike.  Recent technological advancements have enlivened research activity in the cognitive sciences; psychology, anthropology, neuropsychology, and neuroscience.  Computer scientists studying artificial intelligence question whether it may be possible for a machine to achieve consciousness.  Here we are in the 21st Century, and many fundamental questions remain unanswered.  

What are the critical brain regions for consciousness? 
What is the Self?  
What determines experiences of volition and ‘will’?  
What is the function of consciousness? How do experiences influence how we see ourselves and the world?  
How rich is consciousness?  
Are other animals conscious? 
Do comatose patients experience consciousness?*

As scientists throughout the world ponder these questions, the subject of consciousness remains vibrant.

I use painting as a way to explore color and its relationship with human consciousness and experience.  Over the centuries and across cultures, yellow has been affixed to many divergent meanings, emerging today as a complicated color.  Yellow has both positive and negative associations.  Most often, this primary color is associated with warmth, happiness, pleasure, intellect, luminosity, and, creativity.  But Yellow has a nefarious side.  It is the color of cowardice, betrayal, hazard, decay, madness, caution, and physical illness (jaundice, malaria, pestilence).  Even the sources of its pigment are toxic materials -- cadmium, lead, chrome and even urine.**  

When constructing a painting, I often deploy two distinct colors and use them to illustrate emotional/psychological complexity or conflict.  In “Consciousness Of Yellow”, yellow and deep blue are the two dominant hues.  The yellow hue leans toward green. I applied a warm “Naples Yellow,” thinned with painting medium, over a green underpainting.  The green has a significant cooling effect and produces a complex relationship between the two colors.  Like yellow, deep blue can be duplicitous; it can be a color of sensible character, but is also associated with melancholy and resignation.  For me, this painting is about flux and a person’s endeavor to maintain a positive mental/emotional frame of mind.  

These are some of the meanings that I glean from “Consciousness Of Yellow”.  How do you react to this painting?  What meaning do you find in these colors?  How does it make you feel?