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I did not plan to make "abstract" color grids such as these. The idea came to me one night in a flash, immediately generating great excitement that night and the next morning, as I took stabs at determining the various parameters for these pieces. The next day, after making some tests, I printed the first. Color grids are not new; part of the reason for my interest is that digital colors offer an unprecedented control over fine distinctions. The works in Colors 1: Transitions all proceed from one color to the next in the smallest of standard increments; in most of these pieces, adjacent changes are too small to see. Also, the available ink and paper combination does not reproduce the full "gamut" of digital colors, so in some pieces very dark or very pure colors will have identical appearances within the first few or last few rows, even though the original color numbers that generated these works begin gradually shifting, and in equal increments, from the beginning.
The first 24 pieces in Colors 1: Transitions, issued in editions of 12, mostly proceed from one to another of white, black, and the primary or secondary colors. The two "Rainbows" proceed through a wider range at a faster pace. The works beginning with "25" each start with a color selected using random numbers, though with some restrictions, transitioning in small, equal increments to its approximate complement. These are issued in editions of one, rhyming with the way the starting and ending colors often appear as unique mixes unlike anything seen before. Once one is sold, I might keep a reference copy, but as long as the sold copy is extant, I will not otherwise exhibit it. All of the works in Colors 1: Transitions can also be hung upside-down, and will be signed on the back in two positions accordingly, articulating an arbitrariness that echoes the small transitions and the use of random numbers, and most importantly giving no color scheme primacy over any other.

One idea behind the "Colors" is to reveal the "raw materials" with which my photographic works are printed. This is one reason I made them the same size as the sheets of Permutations 4: The Tower, All Views, of which there will eventually be a total of fourteen. But the effect of "Colors" seems unexpected, partaking of a surprising hugeness. Their rectangular, image-like grids feel vaster and more open than my photographs, almost is if they were nearly blank or freshly-primed canvases, each somehow containing a whole image that could be fashioned out of it, or imagined within it in the mind's eye. The shapes we make, and the colors we choose, are all revealed to be constructions, with no hierarchy that places any over any other. Our eyesight is revealed as a construction as well: each rectangle has its color equally distributed, and the apparent inequalities are optical illusions. I hope the viewer feels the ground being pulled away, as if out from under one's feet.

During my 2008 Chicago exhibit, two different visitors remarked that Colors 1: Transitions reminded them of watching the sunrise. This observation pleased me greatly. I, too, have watched sunrises and sunsets, and note how one cannot really see change at each instant, but rather, many apparently static instants become what is ultimately a huge series of transformations of color and light. In this sense, my transitions from a color to its complement, or between a color and white or black, in which most cannot see differences between horizontally adjacent rectangles, are a perfect metaphor for the way many tiny changes can become huge ones. Such transitions can be not only physical but also mental, as the focused mind moves from one state to another. I think, too, of a walking or bicycling trip, in which one might start out, from, oh, Zagreb, and as a result of movements that are only really a few feet at a time, some days, or weeks, later, there you are in Dubrovnik.

Fred Camper
Chicago, Illinois
October 8, 2008.

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