Saturday 20 October - Saturday 10 November 2012
10 am - 5 pm
(Monday - Saturday)
Artists have been invited to consider this the theme of Blue
and to produce new works of art in response.
Phoebe Taylor & Toby Jones performing at the Opening View
Photograph: Mike Wynne-Powell
Blue is the colour of the heavenly, the divine and the spiritual; a symbol of infinity, fidelity and of loss.
These symbolic meanings seem to be universal throughout the world of art and religion.
Linking heaven and earth in the Renaissance paintings of the Madonna,
blue was reserved for the Holy Mother's robes, symbolising her purity.
In the ancient world Azurite, a natural mineral, was used to make a blue pigment used by the Egyptians.
Difficult to make, and very rare, it was used sparingly and reserved for sacred images.
The secret of Azurite was lost to chemist and artist in the dark ages,
and the search for this most elusive of colours led eventually to Afghanistan
and another rare mineral, Lapis Lazuli, now known as Ultramarine.
In the fifteenth century Ultramarine was more valuable than gold.
Radiant and permanent, it was highly desirable to artists and patrons alike.
In the nineteenth century chemists came to the rescue,
synthesising a blue from a compound called phthalocyanines,
at a fraction of the cost of true Lapis Lazuli,
and leading to the production of the vibrant colours we enjoy today.