Thirty-two years ago, the Eccles Community Art Center created a biannual Black and White Competition to showcase the power and beauty behind art without color.
The black and white gallery opens on Jan. 27.
Debra Muller, the assistant director of the Eccles Art Center, explained that the purpose of this competition was to show how art void of color can “wow” people.
“With black and white pieces, you have to use strong compositions and rules to capture the attention of the people,” Muller said.
According to psychology today, color has an effect on people’s emotions. Warm colors can evoke feelings of comfort or anger, and cool colors can evoke feelings of calmness or sadness.
Presenting emotion through black and white pieces can be more challenging.
“Black and white art, in my opinion, is more about values,” said Elizabeth Robbins from Bella Muse Gallery in downtown Ogden. “It has a completely different energy than a painting with color in it. In essence, black and white art is about the powerful abstract design.”
Black and white artists have to consider the composition’s structure and development, how the lines connect and how the value and shape will lead the audience into the picture.
They do not have the advantage that color brings when trying to portray a certain feeling, story or emotion.
“An artist can evoke gut-wrenching emotions to the feeling of falling in love, all depending on the way the composition is set up,” Muller said. “However, they have to do this through the details instead of just color.”
Because of color’s ability to sway emotion, without it, the individual has a higher advantage to perceive personally unique visuals. The side of brain a person favors will determine what each individual will see in a piece of art.
“To me, black and white art is more powerful,” said Amanda Stokes, WSU student and art enthusiast.
“When there is no color in an art piece or photo, I think you are able to connect it to your own memories and feel a stronger emotion without the distraction of color,” she said.
Robbins said black and white art inspires her because it seems unfinished. Seeing a great design with the lack of color inspires her to paint something with the same idea while adding color.
“Black and white always leaves me wanting more,” Robbins said.
An art piece’s color scheme can determine or suggest the era the piece was created. Without color, a piece will have a higher chance of remaining timeless.
Every day, there are more technological advances made when it comes to creating art and creating color.
“The more technologically advanced we get, the value of man-made art — in color or black and white art — will increase,” Robbins said.
Each year, the ECAC receives over 200 black and white art and photography entries for the competition. The directors of the art center consider this event to be one of their favorite shows.
They will be receiving entries until Jan. 26. Artists from Logan to St. George are encouraged to participate.