Art, color, healing |

Art, color, healing

Chad Abraham
Charles Andrade is one of several artists featured in the Carbondale Council on the Arts and Humanities exhibit on art and healing. He will also lecture on the relationship Goethe established between color and human psychology. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox.

Heal thyself.Think that’s easier said than done? Well, try some art and nature. It’s all around you, after all, so be a Romantic.The lucky No. 7 definition of Romanticism states: “of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a style of literature and art that subordinates form to content, encourages freedom of treatment, emphasizes imagination, emotion, and introspection, and often celebrates nature, the ordinary person, and freedom of spirit.”Valley residents will get the chance to express and absorb Romantic-inspired art, science and healing during most of April. The Carbondale Council on the Arts and Humanities is sponsoring a series of gallery showings, lectures and a workshop this month, all designed to invoke the curative aspects of color.Art & Healing: Color in Art opens with an artist reception tonight from 6-8 p.m. at the CCAH Council Gallery in Carbondale. The exhibit includes work by Charles Andrade, Mary Whalen, Nancy Kullgren, Virginia Neary-Carrithers and Sheri Gaynor.”What we’re trying to do with this show is bring forth people in our community who’ve thought about these things,” said Jolie Ramo, executive director of CCAH. One person who has thought of these things is artist Charles Andrade. His lecture on Tuesday, April 5, “Art as a Meditative Practice: Intro to Goethe’s Color Theory,” will discuss the German humanist’s contribution to art.

While best known for his drama “Faust,” “what he’s less known for are these huge treatises he wrote on color,” Andrade said. “He wrote [them] in rebuttal, more or less, to Isaac Newton’s theory of color. Newton’s theory was that all color is contained in white light and he took that much more into the scientific realm.”Goethe, being a humanist, really felt that detached the human being from the incredible phenomenon of the everyday experience of color. He borrowed a spectrum and did numerous investigative exercises into the relationship color has with light and darkness.”Andrade, whose lecture will focus on “the artistic process more or less as a healing, rejuvenating process in and of itself,” said Goethe’s experiments led to a theory dubbed “border phenomenon.””Any time you get any amount of light interacting with any amount of darkness, that interval will display itself optically in some form of color,” he said.Andrade’s first experience with Goethe and the border phenomenon came during postgraduate art-therapy studies in England.”In the natural world, light is always permeating darkness. When we get up in the morning, we like our bedrooms dark because we slowly wake up – our consciousness wakes up to the light,” he said. “When we move through the day, we like to have the proper amount of illumination. That illumination tells us how we can move through our world. Human beings need light to function, but we also need darkness.”This is the incredible relationship Goethe established between color and its phenomenon and human psychology.”Andrade’s workshop will focus on information relating to the tools people need for artistic talents and appreciation.

“You have to learn your tools in a sense before you can relate to them,” said Ramo. “A lot of people come into an art gallery, and I see them all the time, and they either like or dislike. You look at something and you say, ‘I like it, I dislike it,’ rather than, ‘Do I have a relationship with this painting, regardless of whether I like it or dislike it?’ Because everybody likes or dislikes – it’s the first part of the relationship.”Art & Healing will aim to move artists and art aficionados beyond walking through a gallery and “having a dead experience: ‘Oh that’s pretty, that’s not pretty, I can’t afford that,’ and then they’re gone,” Ramo said.Artist Virginia Neary-Carrithers, who has multiple sclerosis, will be speaking on how “the creating of art helped her deal” with her affliction, Andrade said.”She said painting has helped heal her,” said Ramo, “and that her process of being an artist has brought her a way to express and bring herself to this centered place. Dr. Will Evans is going to talk about finding that inner essence of energy. White light has all the colors in it, so you’ve got your whole palate. And when a painter chooses to paint, they’re taking a certain aspect out to express. It’s intuitive obviously, but each of these canvases as you look at them will bring you to a different place in yourself.”The healing power of art and nature is particularly abundant in this valley, Andrade said. But the valley, as in the world in general, also suffers from what he and Romo said is a misappropriation of art’s true value.”So much of modern art has lost a connection to this regenerative quality that art first and foremost sprung from,” Andrade said.”Art is a vehicle for healing,” said Romo. “When you place yourself within nature or within something larger than yourself, you start to feel more humble and you start to feel more connected. And that’s part of the healing process: Most sickness is blocked energy. Painting, in its essence, is movement. When you look at a painting, if the painter is really good, you may not understand it but you can see the movement in it. It’s going to bypass the intellect.”All of the artists and lecturers in Art & Healing are locals. “These people are painting down the street from us,” Romo said. She added that people need to be challenged by art, and this event should meet those challenges.

“People should be more turned on to and exposed to things that are more challenging,” she said.Event organizers are hoping upvalley art enthusiasts don’t ignore the gallery showings, lecturers and Andrade’s workshop.”We’d like to get Basalt and Aspen people to come to these openings. We’d like to see them come down to us because we have art they’re not showing,” Romo said. “They’re in the world art scene, and it’s interesting what you’ll see here.”The healing aspects of art and color should not be underestimated. From depression to multiple sclerosis to physical pain, maladies of the body and the psyche can be alleviated through art. And it’s all natural, Andrade said.”It’s man’s nature to create – it’s the most important thing humans do.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is

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