Color Codes: Modern Theories of Color in Philosophy, Painting and Architecture, Literature, Music, and Psychology

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UPNE, 1995 - Architecture - 351 pages
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Color is an endlessly fascinating and controversial topic. "The first thing to realize about the study of color in our time is its uncanny ability to evade all attempts to systematically codify it, " writes Charles A. Riley in this series of interconnected essays on the uses and meanings of color. Color Codes draws heavily on interviews with many of today's leading artists - Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Peter Halley, Lukas Foss, A. S. Byatt, and others - as well as seminal texts by a wide range of thinkers including Wittgenstein, Derrida, Barthes, Schoenberg, Kandinsky, Albers, Joyce, Pynchon, and Jung. Although Riley finds remarkable parallels among the theories and techniques of various disciplines, his emphasis is on the individual nature of the color sense. This resistance to a unified color theory gives the current aesthetic debate tremendous energy. "Because it is largely an unknown force, color remains one of the most vital sources of new styles and ideas, ready to be tapped by creative minds in the coming decades." In the studios of artists and composers, and in the recent writings of philosophers, psychologists, poets, and novelists, evidence of this emerging power is abundant. Creators, critics, and lay readers will find Color Codes accessible and stimulating.

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At the outset of this scholarly work, Riley (English, Baruch Coll., CUNY) states: "The first thing to realize about the study of color in our time is its uncanny ability to evade all attempts to ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

CHARLES A. RILEY II is a frequent lecturer on the arts. He is author of several books, including Aristocracy and the Modern Imagination (2001) and Saints of Modern Art (1998), and of over a hundred gallery and museum catalogue essays for exhibitions on three continents. He has also written dozens of cover features for magazines including Art & Auction, Art & Antiques, and World Art. Founding editor-in-chief of WE, a national magazine for people with disabilities, he is Associate Professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY.

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