Colors : Passages Through Art, Asia and Nature

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An American artist discovers how to make organic colors from plants in a small shop in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She learns to make inks by hand, from indigo, herbs and bark. This process becomes a metaphor for understanding nature, art and life. Beginning to paint with natural color, along with other artists from India and Bangladesh, allows powerful natural forces and patterns to emerge in her paintings. These paintings become the basis for her work in the Indigo Show. In the workshop where color is made, the ingredients take on an almost mythic presence, where process and timing emerge as key ingredients in ancient craft. Living color, color made from sustainable sources, opens her to an awareness of plants and herbs, and their backgrounds. This mysterious process helps her to reach back into the past, to other countries, history and her own life. This richly textured and engaging memoir of color will appeal to artists, naturalists and Asia enthusiasts. Artists will learn to use plants in new and traditional ways. In chapters such as Summer Meadow - Bay - Curry - Basil - Apple Trees - Mint, the artist shares her memories of color, traced through gardens, the use of herbs, and travel. The history of colors unravels the shadowy story of Indigo in Bengal, and the pre-Civil war American South. She shows readers the slow, careful process of making color from natural materials, musing on nature, art and the way to a balanced life. The book offers reflections on using herbs to sustain health, color in art, enlightening encounters with plants, and the lessons left us by pre-industrial attitudes. In Colors: Passages through Art, Asia and Nature Sutro has created a unique and fascinating study of nature's processes, the origins of color and the birth of paint.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 129 pages
  • 150 x 220 x 8mm | 2,099.97g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1456373331
  • 9781456373337
  • 2,479,327

About Sarah Sutro

When Sarah Sutro traveled to Bangladesh, she thought she was going to see a bit of Asia. What she got was a glimpse into history, an encounter with ancient art methods and materials she had only read about, and experience at a small color industry tucked into a little known part of Dhaka. She learned to make color from plants and other natural materials in new and traditional ways. Besides COLORS, her work is published in the Thailand anthology Bangkok Blondes; she is the co-editor with Jid Umavijani of Buddhist Chanting; and she collaborated on the photographic essay Through our Eyes, published by the National Museum of Thailand. She was a finalist for the Robert Frost Award in 2005. She is well known for her paintings, drawings and artist books, which are shown and collected internationally. Her work can be found in the libraries of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Sackler Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry (Miami); and in the collections of the Harvard Art Museums, the Johnson Museum of Art, the Boston Public Library and Boston Athenaeum. She has taught at over 10 colleges and universities, including Emerson College, the Art Institute of Boston, Lesley University, Cornell University, Ithaca College and currently at Vermont College. She has been an artist-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, Ossabaw Island Foundation, Millay Colony and the American Academy in Rome. While her roots are in New England (USA), she has lived much of the last decade in South and Southeast Asia. With a permanent base in Western MA, she currently resides in Oakland, CA with her partner, who works in international humanitarian relief.
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