Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Josef Albers, Interaction of Color

I've been reading Interaction of Color by Josef Albers (1888 - 1976) and doing some of the exercises. I like the book a lot. It's not dogmatic, rather he takes an enquiring approach, suggesting experiments that can be made to explore different colour interactions. The experiments are open-ended and can be extended in umpteen ways to suit oneself. Don't know how I've managed to miss this book for so long and can see why it's still so popular.


In this exercise I was trying out one colour on different backgrounds to suggest 'Young' (above) and 'Old' (below). I bent the rules a little by altering the quantities and shapes. 


Josef Albers, Interaction of Color, revised and expanded edition 2006. Yale University Press, New Haven & London. Originally published in 1963.

3 comments:

Finchley land girl said...

Hi Mary, This is interesting. This book is always on the recommended list and yet I don't believe I have ever studied it either. There was an interesting article in Artists and Illustrators either this or last time about optical colour mixing experiments which I keep meaning to do. Also on BBC Horizon programme this week there was a fascinating programme about optical illusions and neuroscience. You may be able to catch it on iPlayer if you can get it where you are. Hope you are well. Best wishes Claudine

surayamam said...

It's an excellent book. Largely a record of exercises done at the Bauhaus but developed further. Albers was a Bauhaus student turned Bauhaus master, one of the few that made it up the ranks. The bit that stuck with me most was the bit about the Weber Fechner Law, where he disspells the popular myth that you tonally darken a mix evenly by adding the same amount of dark pigment in successive mixes- where in reality you have to add double of what you added in the previous mix each time- but this eaercise is still taught wrongly in art colleges to this day, e.g. on the OCA watercolour course.

Eileen said...

Intriguing. I love plkaying with colour. I wouldn't have chosen either of those colour combinations for youth and age, which remidns me how subjective colour perception can be. Why do you think you chose thsoe ones - waht do they mean to you?