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Digital Color Theory in Gelfman’s “Grids” Paintings Essay

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Updated: May 24th, 2021

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is one of the most remarkable cultural and educational centers focused on the international art of the XX and XXI centuries. There are collections of paintings and works of artists from the United States, Caribbean countries, and Latin America. Particular attention is paid to the works of local artists and designers. Miami Museum is a link in the process of transnational exchange of people, ideas, and cultures. Since September 15, the selection of paintings “Grids” by the famous artist Lynne Golob Gelfman is exhibited in the museum. This paper will research the artist and content of the pieces of art, considering how color influences the mood and strengthens the artworks’ content.

The Pérez Art Museum Miami presented the most inclusive showing of the artworks of Lynn Golob Gelfman. This woman is a talented Miami-based artist who grew up in New York. Gelfman graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University School of Art. Lynn taught art at the Dalton School from 1968 to 1972, a year when her husband set to work on a flower farm outside Bogota, and they moved to Miami, an imported gateway for flowers. The city is seen as an international hub of theater, art, music, dance, and filmmaking (Kleinberg and Parks 85).

Moving to Miami from New York — leaving a tough scene in which art was supposed to be “autonomous” from real-life — made the artist’s new work indistinguishable from art and reality around. Miami’s light and tropical flora began to influence the work of the artist. The color palette has become softer, often with an abundance of light green, gray, pink, and sandy white shades. Aspects of life in Miami (grey chain fences and flickering light reflected off the coastal waters) are expressly mentioned in the artworks. It is the way the artist takes something from the real world and turns it into a fascinating masterpiece of art, choosing the appropriate shapes and colors.

Abstract paintings in the collection of Lynn Golob Gelfman are all about surfaces that seem to move and flicker, sometimes looking like waves beating against the shore. At a different time, the artworks may resemble topographic photographs of a desert landscape or close-ups of a steep dune — all fragments of the original view of nature. Gelfman is inspired by such diverse things as textiles, delicate plant patterns, and traces left by crabs or worms as they move along the sand.

The show “Grid” featured 20 Gelfman’s artworks — including various series, methods, and inspirations from 1971 when she began to paint. The South has undergone notable changes in its aesthetic commitments with the growth of the arts and increased resources devoted to them (Bonner and Pennington 20). The exhibition in the Pérez Art Museum Miami explores Lynn Gelfman’s pieces of art in relation to the modernist grid tradition. By repeating both linear and geometric forms, the artist’s diverse collections reveal her interest in the late modernist studies of this rectilinear form while at the same time confirming resistance to formal rules and cool abstraction, demonstrating the contrast of Miami’s urban and natural environment.

Gelfman is often glorified for using unusual approaches in the process of creating artistic masterpieces. One of the examples of such an artwork is the picture “Large Abstract Oil Painting,” painted in 1991. The patterned surface of the picture demonstrates Gelfman’s interest in woven textiles. Also, the rich blue and red color palette create complementary relationships that only fascinate viewers and pull them deeper into the artwork. Red causes the strongest physiological reaction and emotions; this color is associated with love, rage, and power (Mollica 46). As for blue, it has a strong psychological value and symbolizes eternal values and wisdom.

Another masterpiece of Lynn Golob Gelfman is the picture “Muddy Roots 1,” painted in 1996. In this artwork, the unconventional drawing methods of the artist create a tangible texture and a multi-layered surface. Reptile-like patterns in this masterpiece reflect a close examination of the nature made by the artist, as well as the unique evergreen landscape of Miami. The peculiar style and expressionist drops throughout the picture add a sense of immediacy and attract viewers. Gelfman reflects the movement of nature in this sophisticated piece of art. Bright green slits throughout the picture reflect the tropical shades of Miami while creating the effect of the tops of trees.

Moreover, green is the color of life and nature, symbolizing prosperity and new beginnings. This color helps to dispel negative emotions, brings peace and tranquility, helps to concentrate and make a decision. It has a strong association with spring, youth, renewal, and naturalness (Birren 13).

The explosion of yellow color highlights the abstract expression peculiar to expressionists and brightly complements the base color spectrum. Yellow is a bright, stimulating color that helps to understand new ideas and maintain recognition, loyalty, and trust (McLeod 52). It is the color of the sun, energy, optimism, freedom, and sociability that characterizes the spirit of Miami. Green and yellow colors perfectly complement each other. These colors have a positive influence on the mood of the picture and enhance the composition of the artwork.

To sum up, Lynn Golob Gelfman is a very talented artist who creates masterpieces inspired by the fascinating reliefs of Miami and its nature. The usage of the right color scheme and shades makes Gelfman’s artworks even more attractive. The ubiquitous forces in the work of Lynn Golob Gelfman are nature and illusion. Acrylic or oil designs have a textile-like appearance that tends to positively affect the feelings of the viewer.

Muddy Roots 1.
Gelfman, Lynne Golob. Muddy Roots 1. 1996. The Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Large Abstract Oil Painting "LL" Miami Modernist. 1991.
Gelfman, Lynne Golob. Large Abstract Oil Painting “LL” Miami Modernist. 1991. The Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Works Cited

Birren, Faber. Color Psychology and Color Therapy; A Factual Study of the Influence of Color on Human Life. Hauraki Publishing, 2013.

Bonner, Judith H., and Estill Curtis Pennington. The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 21: Art and Architecture. UNC Press Books, 2013.

Gelfman, Lynne Golob. Large Abstract Oil Painting “LL” Miami Modernist. 1991. The Pérez Art Museum Miami. Web.

Gelfman, Lynne Golob. . 1996. The Pérez Art Museum Miami. Web.

Kleinberg, Howard, and Arva Moore Parks. Legendary Locals of Greater Miami. Arcadia Publishing, 2013.

McLeod, June. Colour Psychology Today. John Hunt Publishing, 2016.

Mollica, Patti. Color Theory: An Essential Guide to Color-from Basic Principles to Practical Applications. Walter Foster Publishing, 2013.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Digital Color Theory in Gelfman's "Grids" Paintings." May 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/digital-color-theory-in-gelfmans-grids-paintings/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Digital Color Theory in Gelfman's "Grids" Paintings'. 24 May.

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