MASS Gallery presents Color Spaces, an exhibition of new paintings and video by Austin artist Sam Sanford.
Sanford’s works form an extended investigation into the three-color system at the foundation of the world of images we now inhabit.
Nineteenth-century advances in optics and pigment technology gave us the ability to capture and reproduce a full range of color using only three photoreceptors or pigments – without this three-color (RGB/CMY) system, color photography and film, television, compression of digital images and video, and the Internet as we know it would not be possible.
In order to work directly with the red, green, and blue information encoded in digital source images, Sanford paints with only cyan, magenta, and yellow paint, applied in successive transparent layers. By interfering with the normal functioning of the three-color system – selectively displacing, distorting, and deleting information – the artist brings the color system itself to the foreground, exposing its limitations and undermining its claim to represent reality while revealing new formal possibilities and layers of meaning.
In this exhibition, the three-color system serves as an analogy for technology and the scientific enterprise, illustrating how our increasing understanding of and control over all aspects of the world both enriches and impoverishes our experience, and how any seemingly clean and closed system hides a wealth of dirt and complexity at its margins.
Sam Sanford was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1977. His work has been exhibited at various galleries in Austin and at the University of Texas at Dallas. This is his first solo show.