Opening on October 30, an exhibition titled 'Monochrome' at the National Gallery in London will take visitors through seven rooms, each addressing an aspect of painting in black, white and grey, which is also called grisaille. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the technique was largely used in devotional works to imitate stone sculpture. Later on, artists painted in black and white to emulate the effets of photography and film. The use of minimal color is also seen in works by Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and Cy Twombly, where it is used to maximize impact in abstract work.
'Monochrome' will feature more than 50 painted objects created over 700 years, including works by Old Masters such as Van Eyck, Dürer and Rembrandt as well as contemporary artists including Gerhard Richter, Chuck Close and Bridget Riley. The show will also examines artist who have taken an interest in color theory and the psychological effects of color, manipulating hues to trigger particular responses in viewers.
The term monochrome, of course, refers to the use of tones of any single color, not necessary black and white, and one of the show's deviations from black and white -- Olafur Eliasson's immersive light installation "Room for one color" -- is also one of its highlights. That work, which consists of a room bathed in yellow light, will bring the exhibition to a close.
'Monochrome: Painting in Black and White' opens October 30 and runs through February 18. nationalgallery.org.uk
(See also: Picasso Meets Toulouse-Lautrec In Madrid)