NARROW/BROAD SPECTRUM OF PALETTE
Do I want a severe vocabulary to express myself, eliminating shades of gray, and eschewing the full spectrum? A constrained palette will compel me to make every mark unequivocal, force me to be decisive, take from me any hiding place. Is this what I want? Need I come so bare to the creative encounter?
With black and white I can get directly to the bones of things. I can touch structure, reason, form, and do so raw. With color, I have climate and atmosphere. With color I can tune more exactly feeling, mood, can soak form in color, I can fill space with affective light, leaning on my audience to sway them to see it my way. I can color their experience, nudge them in my direction.
Why not let it all go? Why be so exclusive and hard on myself? Why not let everything in? Life is teeming with outrageous variety, embarrassing behavior: why should I restrain myself? When an infinite circus is whirling around me, why should I be so timid in my choices? Is severe choice a failure of imagination, timidity of spirit, or quite the contrary? On the other hand, is there not something grand in making judicious choices and being satisfied with that? When everyone else is grabbing everything they can get their hands on, isn’t it rather brave to be reserved?
There are many other telling sites at which we may make our cross-section cut of the world. With each question, at each cut, we begin to appreciate the enormous power of expression at our disposal inherent in all media. The important feature in choice of media is not what medium we use but what statement we wish to make . Then we may ask ourselves what substance to choose as our ally in saying what needs saying.
It would be useful to shift the association we make with the materials that artists employ from the static inventory of things inferred by the term art supplies to the more dynamic and intermediary qualities implied by the term media. Exploring the implications of this transposition further, we can say a number of things about how media serve expression.
Media are things that transform thought into action. All things when moved from the domain of thought to the physical domain exist in time, place, substance, and movement. Every medium therefore consists of these four qualities. The basic character of each medium is determined by the degree to which each quality is exploited. It is important to note that every medium has infinite potential in each category – time, place, substance, and movement. And it is we who choose to manifest any one or more of its potential qualities and conversely to delimit the active expressive presence of others.