Let Your Art Collection Go Black and White!

Collectors' Tip, Top Lists

February 20, 2020

A color is a powerful tool in art. It is the visual element that has the strongest effect on our emotions. However, the absence of color is just as important and powerful. Artists often decide to cast aside the color spectrum and focus on the visual power of black, white and everything in between.

All of the artists on our list harnessed the visual power of the absence of color, placing an emphasis on the composition of the work itself. If black and white is your thing, be sure to check out these works for your collection.

Featured image: Patrick Hugues - Dessin 16, 2019. All images courtesy of their respective galleries.

Chris Ofili - The Healer

Characterized by rhythmic patterning of painterly and cultural elements, works by Chris Ofili explore both contemporary and historical black experience through challenging racial stereotypes. Vibrant, technically complex and meticulously executed, his art works on many levels.

Drypoint with aquatint and spitbite on paper, The Healer from 2009 possesses a reflective quality, featuring the abundance of nature-inspired by his visit to the Caribbean.

Buy the work here.

Ernest Pignon-Ernest - Si je reviens II

A pioneer of street art, the French artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest is renowned for works carrying a strong political and social commentary. His large-scale black and white pieces combine Street art and Classicism, echoing the historical and current events occurring in the street.

Titled Si je reviens II, this 2015 piece is part of the series of works that re-poses the unanswered questions regarding the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini. This powerful image also found its place in cities and locations closely linked to Pasolini himself – Rome, Naples, Matera, and Ostia beach.

Buy the work here.

Shepard Fairey - Decoding Disinformation (Silver)

An icon of the contemporary art scene, the American artist Shepard Fairey has always been an artist who speaks his mind through his art. Emerging from the skateboarding scene, he has been inspiring generations of artists with his thought-provoking and often controversial pieces.

Decoding Disinformation (Silver) from 2015 is letterpress on white cotton paper with hand-deckled edges, executed in Fairey's distinct style.

Buy the work here.

Sofia Borges - The Ancestral Ladder of Rafael / A Escada Ancestral de Rafael

The Brazilian artist Sofia Borges uses photography as a tool to excavate and analyze the forgotten fragments of (natural) history to question the notion of representation itself. Investigating various spaces fulfilled with archetypal content, she dives into unknown territory with the quest of exploring the relationship between matter and meaning.

The work The Ancestral Ladder of Rafael / A Escada Ancestral de Rafael was first exhibited during Borges' Curatorial Project The Infinite History of Things or the End of the Tragedy of the One in the 33rd São Paulo Biennial which explored a collage of mythological references based on philosophical interpretations of Greek tragedy.

Buy the work here.

Anna Maria Maiolino - Untitled, from the Projetos Construidos series

An Italian-Brazilian artist who makes books, video art, sculptures, and drawings, Anna Maria Maiolino explores the human rights and social aspects of immigration politics in Brazil through her performance art and conceptual installations.

A folded paper work, Untitled from 1972 is part of the series Projetos Construidos where the artist, through constructed objects consisting of layered sheets, cuts, folds, and tears, represented her sense of geographical non-belonging.

Buy the work here.

Patrick Hugues - Dessin 16

A Marseille-based French artist, Patrick Hugues is known for black felt drawings of abandoned harbors, warehouses, frozen cranes and other large, distorted urban complexes. Initially disembodied, over time, these works became populated by humans.

Dessin 16 from 2019 is a simple linear drawing representing a passionate sexual act.

Buy the work here.

Levalet - Anthropocene

The French artist Levalet is known for his monochromatic wheat paste-up images of people, which interact with their environments in interesting and wonderful ways. Combining humor and absurdity to create a new vision of urban poetry, he mixes the world of representation with the real, placing great importance on the illusion effect.

Titled Anthropocene, this 2018 work explores the man's impact on the environment.

Buy the work here.

Sam3 - Raices estelaris

A Spanish street artist, Sam3 creates artworks that are ironical, poetic, inspiring, but also provocative and challenging. Often working in black and white, he paints human figures which appear as silhouettes or shadows.

Sam3's works are dominated by figurative elements, which are in the state of metamorphosis. The work Raices estelaris features phantasmagorical roots growing out of the body of his protagonist.

Buy the work here.

L'Atlas - Sans Titre

The French street artist L’Atlas is known for his explorations of calligraphy and geometry that became main aspects of his art. All about lines and forms, his work is a combination of influences, ranging from Ancient Greek and Arabic calligraphy to modern tags.

Executed in a range of black and grey tones, Sans Titre from 2011 demonstrates his distinct codified rhythm of writing.

Buy the work here.

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Two Palms

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