Hans Hofmann at Art Basel Miami 2019
Hans Hofmann, Purple Patch. 1954

The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.

Hans Hofmann

Colorful art often evokes a sense of joy but it presents a special challenge for the artist. Beginning artists are often taught how to pick a limited palette–often based complementary or analogous color schemes–and are generally discouraged from using “every crayon in the box.” This is because it isn’t a simple thing to make a successful “rainbow painting” — that is to say one that seems both sophisticated, confident and aesthetically pleasing.

Hans Hofmann. Combinable Wall I and II. 1961.

But there are artists who use the full spectrum of colors to glorious effect. Hans Hofmann comes to mind as an art historical example. Hans Hofmann was known as the master teacher of the Abstract Expressionists, and his “push and pull” method of employing colors and the forms that color created allowed him to create masterpieces that radiate happy energy.

Hofmann’s Purple Patch is for sale at the fair in Miami this week, but we’d like to recommend you check out three contemporary artists who have also mastered the art of using a full range of colors to a joyful effect.

Stanley Whitney – Art Basel

Blue in the Middle by Stanley Whitney
Stanley Whitney. Blue in the Middle. 2019
@ Lisson Gallery, Art Basel Miami
Stanley Whitney. Untitled. 2019.
@ Two Palms, Art Basel Miami

Another acclaimed master of resplendent and colorful art is Stanley Whitney. Like Hofmann, Whitney spent many years teaching. (He’s now Professor Emeritus at Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art at Temple University). But while Hans Hofmann theorized about color, Stanley Whitney’s use of color is innate and improvisational. He has said, “I start at the top and work down. That gets into call and response,” he explained of his practice. “One color calls forth another. Color dictates the structure, not the other way around.” Rather than discuss color theory, Whitney tends to reflect more on the importance of drawing and of learning from other artists on his journey toward his signature stacked block format. You can see works by Whitney at Art Basel Miami 2019 represented by Lisson Gallery, Galerie Nordenhake, and Two Palms.

Birgit Brandis – Art Miami

Birgit Brandis. Passages. 2019
@ Maybaum Gallery, Art Miami

Represented by Maybaum Gallery, Birgit Brandis is a German painter who has consistently exhibited work in Germany for the last 20 years. This year is her second year at Art Miami, so her work may be relatively unfamiliar to American audiences. The painting above-titled Passages-is acrylic on canvas and measures 71 x 51 inches. In this work, Brandis uses a broad palette of reds, pinks, yellows, blues, greens, and violet to make the spaces pop and recede, constantly shifting the notion of foreground and background and playing with the idea of space.

Pablo Manga – Scope Miami Beach

Colorful Painting by Pablo Manga
Pablo Manga. Con Razon Y Sin Razon. 2019.
@ Hang Art, Scope Art Miami Beach

Represented by Hang Art Gallery, Pablo Manga is a mixed-media artist based in the Bay Area in California. He creates abstract compositions with semi-transparent adhesive tape, resulting in vibrant and colorful art. Manga is a Columbian-American artist with wide-ranging interests and an eclectic background that includes studying philosophy, teaching in the New York public schools, and practicing as an arts attorney in San Francisco. Manga has exhibited consistently in the US since 2002, and his work will be included in Scope Art Miami Beach this week.

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