August 2022

The Red Series (Part 2)

Philip Gerstein



"...[E]very colour can be to some extent varied between warm and cold,

but no colour has so extensive a scale of varieties as red."

~Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art



Along the course of the river they call Time, on crimson sails we glide forward, into the languorous heat of August -- embracing the chance to complete the exploration of my Red Series painted last year. (For Part 1 see the July issue  https://scene4.com/0622/philipgerstein0622.html ).


Gerstein_Born Again (30x24)

"Born Again", 30 x 24 in. (76 x 61 cm),

Acrylic, lacquer, textural media on wood panel, 2021


"Shades of color... awake in the soul emotions too fine to be expressed in words," wrote Wassily Kandinsky in his magnum opus -- Concerning the Spiritual in Art.

"...For this reason words are, and will always remain, only hints, mere suggestions of colors. In this impossibility of expressing color in words, with the consequent need for some other mode of expression, lies the opportunity of the art of the future."


Seizing the day with strong resonant color abstraction, the opportunity Kandinsky referred to a full century ago, was my imperative for this series of paintings.


Not unexpectedly, my Red series also utilized a lot of textural materials, such as glass beads and crystal medium -- resulting in a concrete, matte, touchable surface, responsive to the available light and changing angle of view.


Gerstein_From Your Lips (20x20)

"From Your Lips", 20 x 20 in. (51 x 51 cm),

Oil stick, acrylic, glass beads, & textural media on wood panel, 2021


Luckily for us, Kandinsky delineated further the physical and emotional effects of using red : "Warm red, intensified by a suitable yellow, is orange. This blend brings red almost to the point of spreading out towards the spectator. But the element of red is always sufficiently strong to preserve in this color an undertone of seriousness." He then summarized in his own inimitable way the cool/hot dichotomy to which this color is prone: "... Just as orange is red brought nearer to the humanity by yellow, so violet is red withdrawn from the humanity by blue."


Gerstein_Echo of a Raindrop (24x36)

"Echo of a Raindrop"    24" x 36"  (61 x 91 cm),

Oil stick, acrylic, glass beads, & textural media on wood panel, 2021


One would be amiss not to incorporate the Russian master's advice and astute observations when dealing with color and its lasting effects.


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Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Philip Gerstein began exhibiting his work in the 1980's, while pursuing a PhD in Art History at Harvard University. He studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Japanese calligraphy with Toshu Ogawa. Gerstein exhibits in NYC, Provincetown MA, and extensively in the Boston area, as well as organizing and curating painting and photography shows. His work has been reviewed, reproduced and praised in many publications, including The Boston Globe, ArtScope Magazine, and Art New England. For his other work in Scene4, check the Archives

©2022 Philip Gerstein
©2022 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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