Is Red Your Favorite Color? These Artworks Are For You!

Collectors' Tip, Top Lists

May 16, 2019

The color red is mostly associated with love, desire and passion; however, it has a long history of notions differing from one culture to another. Namely, in the visible spectrum of light, red is next to orange and opposite to violet, and is the dominant color in the RGB model. The variations of the same span the brilliant yellow-tinged scarlet and vermillion, and bluish-red crimson, with an array of shades from the pale red-pink to the dark red burgundy. Various natural phenomena are colored in red, from the Grand Canyon and other geological features, over our blood and various fruits, to the planet Mars.

When it comes to art, red has a special place since it was the first color used in the prehistoric times. Namely, the humans used a red pigment made from ochre, while the later ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and the Mayans used to color their faces red in rituals. On the other hand, in China, this particular color was used for pottery as well as in architectural purposes. Throughout the centuries, the symbolism became standardized, while during the 19th century the first synthetic red was produced in Europe.

The color red was historically associated with danger, courage, and sacrifice, which has to do with our blood being of the same color. In modern times, in a majority of European and American societies, red is perceived as the color mostly associated with heat, activity, passion, sexuality, anger, love and joy, while in India, China and other Asian countries, it symbolizes happiness and good fortune. It is also the color of the Papal attire, as well as a color of the revolution embraced by left political movements.

In order to bring you closer the use of red in contemporary art, we decided to feature a selection of ten exquisite artworks which you can add to your collection right away.

Featured image: Marc Quinn - At the Far Edges of the Universe 2, 2010. All images courtesy of their respective galleries.

Cleon Peterson - Pissers

The first artwork on our top list was made by the LA-based artist Cleon Peterson. This figure is best known for his paintings depicting chaotic figural compositions; the figures usually colored in white and red are struggling between power and submission in contemporary society. The striking imagery of Cleon Peterson is reminiscent of socially engaged art the 1930s.

The work Pissers perfectly encapsulates all the stated above; it is an image of two representatives of the power structures (the police or private security) molesting e.g. urinating over a dying victim.

See more info about the work here.

Thomas Canto - Blind Love

Next up is the work of Thomas Canto a distinguished self-taught artist who expresses himself through various media. Thanks to his graffiti background, Canto was able to develop an authentic aesthetic based on the exploration of the public and the architecture. The artist is inspired by the legacy of abstraction, so his compositions are saturated with representations of speed and perspective.

The 2014 painting Blind Love is an example of how nicely Canto combines different linear features while constructing the image.

See more info about the work here.

Anis Dargaa – Elephantasme

Next up is the work made by a Belgian artist Anis Dargaa, who combines different artistic disciplines for the sake of creating artwork. Dargaa is focused on producing hybrid works which are actually everyday objects with phantasmagorical nature. The starting point of his aesthetic is the work of the Surrealist master Salvador Dalí.

The beautiful sculpture Elephantasme reflects Dargaa’s recurrent fascination with the great animal.

See more info about the work here.

Andrei Krioukov - Belgian Coke

The painting titled Belgian Coke was made by Russian artist Andrei Krioukov, who became known for embracing the iconic Coca Cola can throughout his works. Namely, by poignantly selecting this particular global brand the artist is dealing with various layers of the contemporary notion of consumerism.

This particular hyper-realistic painting features smashed Coca Cola can which was apparently produced in Belgium.

See more info about the work here.

James Rosenquist - Star and Empty House

The work Star and Empty House: 2 State was made by James Rosenquist, one of the most important figures of the Pop art movement. This artist was deeply inspired by consumerism and its effects on the social development; by appropriating motifs as kitchen appliances, Coca-Cola bottles, packaged foods, and women’s lipsticked mouths, Rosenquist made his signature iconography which functions as a comment of the consumerist matrix.

This particular print is not very typical for Rosenquist, however, it still nicely illustrates his need to express himself through various media while exploring different formal and conceptual possibilities.

See more info about the work here.

Hiro Ando – warriorcat

Next work on our list is 2011 piece simply called warriorcat made by contemporary Japanese artist Hiro Ando, who is best known for conveying Japanese traditional and present-day motifs. As a matter of fact, Ando is reinterpreting the iconic samurai warriors, the maneki-neko (lucky cat), sumo wrestlers, and koi fish through sculpture; those colorful objects encompass both the seriousness inherent to tradition and the humor required to objectively articulate a person’s native cultural legacy.

See more info about the work here.

Jan Kalab - Red Gradient

Jan Kaláb is a Czech artist who constructed an authentic graffiti based practice under the specific social and political circumstances of living and working in a post-socialist country during the 1990s. This prolific figure set off his career as a founder of the DSK crew which gained fame throughout Europe. At one point, Kaláb decided to move to New York where he started working under the moniker Point and produced monumental abstract letters executed on the streets and on walls.

In 2018, the artist released Red Gradient series acrylic on canvas which present the latest manifestations of his artistic development.

See more info about the work here.

Ella and Pitr – Coeur

The following work simply called Couer or The Heart was made by a French duo Ella & Pitr. The two artists met in 2007 while intervening on the streets, and the same year they released Les Papiers Peintres. The duo works with various techniques, and are best known for their large format collages which feature cityscapes from their travels.

The work Coeur is a beautiful and tender composition literally depicting heart as an organ and the human figure underneath reflecting loneliness and sorrow after an emotional breakdown.

See more info about the work here.

Rainer Lagemann - Tanz (Dance)

German metal sculptor and photographer Rainer Lagemann gained fame for his signature abstract steel sculptures of the human body. Namely, he is fascinated with the variations of the human body and explores it as the classic theme of artistic expression, depicting it in all shapes, materials, and mediums. To be more precise, Lagemann‘s sculpture captures the human body in motion, and such is this work called Tanz or Dance.

See more info about the work here.

Marc Quinn - At the Far Edges of the Universe 2

The last red artwork on our top list was made by a celebrated British artist Marc Quinn, known for working with a variety of media. Quinn is devotedly exploring what it is to be human in the world today, so his works are saturated with topics related to the body, genetics, identity, environment and the media.

At the Far Edges of the Universe 2 is a photograph made by the artist in 2010.

See more info about the work here.

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