Front cover image: Annabel Dover                        


Friday 22 April - 6-9pm
Transition Gallery           





ARTY 36: Encyclopaedia of Red

summer 2016

‘I love bright red drinks, don’t you? They taste twice as good as any other color.’
L M Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


In early 2015 a discernable panic bubbled up in artistic social media channels because the European Union were considering banning the cadmium pigment. What would we do without our brilliant intense, light-fast red? Luckily by October the case was dismissed as it was decided that batteries were the likely cause of the traces of cadmium (a toxic, heavy metal) found on agricultural land rather than the paint that washed off artists’ brushes.

Red is a precious commodity and finding the right red has a long and complex history which involves insects, chemicals, explotation and skullduggery. In the Arty Encyclopaedia of Red there are entries on Chinese Red, Vermilion, Dirty Red and the all important Cochineal.

Beyond the actual stuff of red we cover a multitude of mainifestations of the colour in politics, popular culture, mythology and as a signifyer of death and danger. This issue is not intended to be a comprehensive coverage of red but rather an eclectic dip into the pool of ideas that are at the forefront of our artist-contributors thoughts and interests.

Artists have always been drawn to red – a splash of the vibrant colour can add drama and excitement to a composition. But the permanance of the red pigment has been an ongoing concern (hence the popularity of cadmium red) and some manifestations of the colour are prone to fading. JW Turner, in particular, seems to have had little care for the longevity of his work and tended to use reds that faded within a few years. Beacuse of the tendency of the red pigment to fade away when exposed to light it is maybe on film that the most striking images of red endure. Colour processes such as Technicolor created redder than real images that thrillingly saturate the screen with a very particular shade of red - think of Moira Shearer’s red shoes in the titular 1948 Powell and Pressburger film. Because of the colourful power of the big screen many of the contributors to this issue focus on film and the Encyclopedia entries include Jean-Luc Godard, Catherine Breillat, Dario Argento, Don’t Look Now, Rita Hayworth and We Need to Talk About Kevin, as well as mentions for the films of David Lynch, the cinematography of Nicolas Roeg and the prominence of pink, which as contributor Jennifer Campbell points out is light red, in the 1950s tribute film Grease. Pink was incidentally the colour of the 1950s as proven by Elvis’s fixation on pink jackets, pink cadillacs and pink peg trousers.

So step on to the red carpet and enjoy this celebration of the most emotive and fiery of colours - beacuase red just makes everything a little bit better.

Cathy Lomax
April 2016


Annabel Dover                                      Cathy Lomax                   Susie Hamilton


The artist / contributors to the Arty Encyclopaedia of Red are... Kim Baker, Rose Bradshaw, Jennifer Campbell, Sarah Cleaver, Annabel Dover, Patrick Galway, Susie Hamilton, Matthew Krishanu, Cathy Lomax, Alex Michon, Alex Pearl, Alli Sharma, Mimei Thompson and Niamh White.

They look at... Appetite, Dario Argento, Catherine Breillat, Chinese red, Cochineal, Dining Rooms, Dirty Red, Don't Look Now, The Flashing Red Light, Jean-Luc Godard, Rita Hayworth, Lipstick, Pink, Politics, Red Rum, Rouge Noir, Scarlet Ibis, Velvet, Vermilion, the Welsh Dragon and We Need to Talk About Kevin.



Arty 36 is available from Transition Gallery & the following stockists and costs £4

or buy online:

Arty 36 + UK Shipping

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See other issues of Arty here