On Thursday February 9th, Ivy Stevens-Gupta hosted a lecture in the Orvis Auditorim titled, Color Matters: An Introduction to Color Theory. This presentation focused on the impact of artful color choice in visual works, as well as the psychology of color in cultural and marketing environments. This was later supplemented with a gallery of Ivy’s work inside of the Hinkle Library.
Ivy Stevens-Gupta is an American artist and color theorist who is known for her glossy, polymer covered acrylic paintings. She graduated from Alfred University with a degree in business, and later returned to school for a degree in marketing. Ivy spent some time working for The Daily Gazette, but since the decline of printed news media she has begun teaching courses on color and design. The influence of color on ideas and moods was the core of her lecture, and she emphasized that depending on the culture in which you were raised, you may have a different reaction to certain hues. Blue is a universally acceptable color, making it perfect for multinational marketing. However colors such as white are interpreted differently between Eastern and Western nations. The relation of colors to each other is important as well, for example analogous colors are often viewed as soothing, while complimentary colors tend to have much more energy.
Ivy Stevens-Gupta, Aquatic Symphony, Acrylic on Canvas & Resin, 2016
One of her paintings, titled Aquatic Symphony, is both striking and representative of her artistic philosophy. The background is filled with tones of blue and purple, which is signaling of underwater environments in a pretty straightforward way. However the mass of bubble-like concentric circles has a much more interesting play on colors. Here, she uses saturated colors paired with rings of harsh black to make the bubbles pop. They appear rhythmic and playful, and the bright use of color implies that they would make a vivid and light-hearted sound. Together, these repeating rings can be viewed as a symphony in which every color represents the quality of a note, like an instrument.
Ivy’s lecture on color theory is applicable in every visual medium, and I will consider the influence of color more carefully in the future. If the goal of art is to communicate, then color should be treated as a way to further express ideas. Especially in web design, I should more frequently ask myself what is the intent of my website, and in what ways can color choice emphasize that intent.