Spectrum: Contemporary Artists in Color

January 31 - July 10, 2016

Color is both a simple and complex concept—associated with emotions, symbols, and thoughts. Human beings learn about color at a young age and it becomes familiar. Still, the use of it as an artistic or design choice is layered and sometimes subjective.

Studies involving color “officially” began in the 1700s. Sir Isaac Newton is credited as inventing the first color wheel, which showed sunlight divided into a spectrum. In 1810, Johann Wolfgang Goethe drew on Newton’s investigations as he explored the psychological effects of various hues. The color wheel most often used today––based on the primary shades of red, yellow, and blue—was formulated by Swiss color and art theorist, Johannes Itten, an instructor at the Bauhaus School of Applied Arts in Weimar, Germany. Modern artists, such as Josef Albers (1888-1976) and Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), identified color as a primary element of their compositions, underscoring its use to convey ideas and expression.

While many contemporary artists use color as a principal element, Spectrum focuses on it—sometimes combined in patterns or through multiple objects—as a defining principle in form and design for work that is not figurative. This exhibition primarily features glass, ceramic, and polymer works by artists from RAM’s collection, such as Sonja Blomdahl, Sandra Byers, Rose Cabat, Jeffrey Lloyd Dever, Lindly Haunani, Cliff Lee, James Lovera, and Dante Marioni.

Exhibition Gallery Notes
Press Room


Sonja Blomdhal, Stuart Braunstein, Sandra Byers, Rose Cabat, Dale Chihuly, Dan Cormier, Jeffrey Lloyd Dever, Benjamin Edols and Kathy Elliot, Bean Finneran, Laritza Garcia, Lindly Haunani, Mary Heilman, Jun Kaneko, Cliff Lee, Robert Levin, James Lovera, James Makins, Dante Marioni, Choonsun Moon, Jay Musler, Gertrud and Otto Natzler, Jeffrey Oestreich, Polia Pillin, Sigrid Thach, Marlene True, Stephanie Voegele, Pier Voulkos, Toots Zynsky

Jeffrey Lloyd Dever
Love Bottle, 1998

9 1/8 x 5 ½ x 3 5/8 inches
Racine Art Museum, Gift of the Artist
Photography: Penina Meisels

Rose Cabat
Feelie (Weed Pot), 2005

Glazed porcelain
4 ¼ x 3 ¾ x 3 ¾ inches
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Devra Breslow
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine

Dante Marioni
Whopper, 1990

26 5/8 x 10 inches diameter
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Dale and Doug Anderson
Photography: John Crosen

Toots Zynsky
Untitled #9, ca. 1990
4 7/8 x 9 ¾ x 8 7/8 inches
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Holly Hotchner and Franklin Silverstone
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine
Bean Finneran
Cone (Light Blue), 2005
Glazed porcelain
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Karen Johnson Boyd
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine
This exhibition is made possible at Racine Art Museum by: Platinum Sponsors - Karen Johnson Boyd and William B. Boyd, SC Johnson, Windgate Charitable Foundation; Diamond Sponsor - Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation; Gold Sponsors - Herzfeld Foundation, Johnson Bank, National Endowment for the Arts, Racine Community Foundation, W.T. Walker Group, Inc.; Silver Sponsors - Racine County, Real Racine, Wisconsin Arts Board; Bronze Sponsors - Burlington Graphic Systems, Inc., EC Styberg Foundation, Educators Credit Union, In Sink Erator, The Norbell Foundation, Orkney Springs Retreat, Rasmussen Diamonds, Ruud Family Foundation, Inc., Wisconsin Public Radio.