Every time we look at the sky or the sea we encounter the color blue, indeed omnipresent in nature and is traditionally associated with faithfulness, harmony, infinity, but also coldness and sadness.
In painting and color theory, blue is one of the three primary colors, and so it is not unusual that it has been used in art ever since the ancient civilizations. When it comes to art history the two most famous variations of this color are the Byzantium blue (the one ranging from light celestial blue or lazuli to dark Egyptian blue that was used by the Byzantine fresco painters) and the Klein blue (the color invented by the legendary post-war artist Yves Klein). Blue is most often used for the military and later police uniforms, and since it is associated with harmony, blue was selected as the color of the flags of the European Union and the United Nations.
To present the contemporary usage of this color, we selected ten outstanding artworks that you can add to your collection while reading the text below.
Featured image: Natalia Koren Kropf - Andante, 2020. All images courtesy of their respective galleries.
The first blue artwork on our list was produced by the Austrian sculptor Karl Karner, well known for his signature amorphous forms. By testing the domains of aluminum, bronze, and various plastics through the process of controlled randomness, the artist seeks to find raw shapes that reflect his interest in both natural and artificial phenomena. He also works with drawing and choreography that seems essential for the understanding of Karner’s work.
The work Drachenkopf is a small scale blue sculpture made by Karner.
The renowned British artist Adam Barker-Mill mostly explores the properties of light through his lasting practice. Namely, his simplistic sculptures/objects based on well-organized elements that either modulate or generate light are engaging, allowing the viewer to experience various optical effects and project their own interpretations.
Chromat 10 is an installation made by Barker-Mill in 2016.
Carlo D'Orta is an Italian photographer active for more than four decades who devotedly depicts people and landscapes. Under the constant impression of the twentieth century abstract artistic movements, he produces highly stylized compositions featuring architecture. The series such as Vibrations and Surreal Landscapes that are focused on deformations produced by reflections of skyscrapers glass windows perfectly emphasize his visual vocabulary.
This particular photograph belongs to the series Biocities that features geometric details and perspectives of architecture found in various cities.
Sam3 is a Spanish artist who gained prominence for his simplistic, yet poetic and provocative works. As he emerged on an art scene back in the 1990s, the artist developed a unique visual style based on the representation of universal narratives populated with natural elements, Sam3 mostly expresses himself through large-scale murals that became very influential for the younger generations of artists.
Voluntas is a silkscreen/ screenprint on Hahnemuhle paper depicting a submerged figure of a man operated by a group of men rowing.
Robert Indiana was one of the leading figures in postwar American art, and the dominant figure in the development of hard-edge painting and Pop art. Mostly celebrated for his iconic Love series, Indiana created a powerful and recognizable aesthetic on the basis of text to explore both the American identity and the power of abstraction.
HOPE belongs to a print series released in 2012 and it illustrates how the artist explored the notion of the selected word by coloring and positioning the letters differently.
Vincent Abadie Hafez is a French artist better known as Zepha since 1988, when he emerged from the graffiti movement. Along with Abdelatif Moustad, another visual artist, he passed through a calligraphy training, while with as well as training in brass work and metal forming with Guy Labrouche. His style is a result of combing different cultural influences spanning from craftsmanship ancient civilizations, over Figuration, to lyrical Abstraction and street art.
Babel is a beautiful and rather futuristic painting made by Hafez in 2017.
This artwork is made by Natalia Koren Kropf, a New York-based multimedia artist who is inspired by the diverse art life of New York City. Most often she works with prints due to the lyrical quality of this media while being inspired by the simplicity and craftsmanship of the artists such as Henri Matisse and Helen Frankenthaler.
Andante is a beautiful blue print reminiscent of the sea fossils made by the artist this year.
Ever since 1993, when it was founded, the Danish artist group SUPERFLEX has been producing what they call Tools, intriguing public proposals for the development of experimental models of the economy. With the assistance of experts coming from different fields, SUPERFLEX release projects that can be adjusted by any user, while their overall agenda is critical and aims to empower democratic production conditions and self-organization.
There Are Other Fish In The Sea is a blue neon installation made by the group in 2019.
Lee Ufan is a renowned Korean minimalist painter, sculptor, academic, and the founder of the avant-garde group Mono-ha (School of Things), the first internationally acclaimed movement in Japan. His entire artistic practice is embedded both in an Eastern devotion of nature and in modern European phenomenology, and the artist is known for his contemplative steel and stone sculptures.
Untitled is a beautiful blue drawing made by the artist in 1980.
The last blue artwork on our list was produced by the American abstract artist Marcy Rosenblat, widely acclaimed for her astonishing paintings and prints. What makes her entire approach unique is the procession method, a careful and neat organization of systems and techniques. Inspired by the idea of revelation and obfuscation, Rosenblat creates profoundly philosophical works that tend to touch upon the very essence of things.
New Day is acrylic on linen made by the artist in 2015.