Ultramarine

Meaning ‘beyond the sea,’ ultramarine was historically made out of lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and was once more valuable than gold. As exquisite and exotic to the Europeans as its place of origin, the deep and brilliant blue was reserved for only the most special places in a painting, as in heavenly skies or the Virgin’s veil.

 

ultramarine brings this sense of place, the unknown and the exquisite together in the Infinity Room on West Adams.

 

In that magic hour before dusk, when things start to go dark, the human eye slowly becomes more sensitive to the blue end of the color spectrum. During this shift, sometimes called the Purkinje effect, reds become darker while blues become enriched, brighter. While the way we see color has continued to be mysterious - is the dress white and gold, or black and blue? - twilight brings with it all sorts of added uncertainties. Toying with perception, ultramarine transports us to the territories inhabited in the works of four artists. Evocative of these shifting times in the day, when our sense of blue is heightened and we slip easily into dream-like melancholy, the artworks move us through a slow odyssey of diverging environments connected by rich, deep hues. The journey begins from a meditative space at the ‘sea floor,’ where Zac Tomaszewski’s water and light installations occupy a darkened room bathed in ultraviolet. Glowing light also emerges, rather mysteriously, in the linen paintings of Srijon Chowdhury and Bryan Ricci. Srijon’s wall-sized work rises like a tidal wave of anemone-like crimson flowers while Bryan’s are both lifting in their eerie abstraction and grounding in the textured, tangible geography of their canvas. Zach Storm’s winding paths lead us and tease us further back into the shallow depths of his witching hour landscapes. All the works, whether seascapes, gardenscapes or mountainscapes, share in a quiet reflection of nature’s elements and their mystery. And, as the blues grow ever more exquisite and brilliant, something in the works uproots us, transports us, so we’re neither here nor there; ultramarine is ethereal and nostalgic for an unknown time and place, as if viewing the world from under water or through headlights in pitch darkness.