Monday, February 21, 2011

Text From Theroux's The Primary Colors....

Some of my colleagues have expressed interest in seeing the source texts that I used in my Englyph images for the "Primary, Black and White" series. The text for each color follows:

Text for Blue Theme, Blue Background:
" Blue is a mysterious color, hue of illness and nobility , the rarest color in nature. It is the color of ambiguous depth, of the heavens and of the abyss at once; blue is the color of the shadow side, the tint of the marvelous and the inexplicable, of desire, of knowledge, of the blue movie, of blue talk, of raw meat and rare steak, of melancholy and the unexpected (once in a blue moon, out of the blue). It is the color of anode plates, royalty at Rome, smoke, distant hills, post marks, Georgian silver, thin milk, and hardened steel; of veins seen through skin and notices of dismissal in the American railroad business. Brimstone burns blue, and a blue candle flame is said to indicate the presence of ghosts. The blue-black sky of Vincent Van Gogh's 1890 Crows Flying Over A Corn Field seems to express the painter's doom."

Text for Blue Theme, Black Background:
"Paradoxically, it is the only one of all the colors which can be legitimately seen as a close neighbor to, as well as essentially symbolic of, dark and light both, oddly black in the night and almost white at the horizon by day. ('...deep blue air that shows,` observes Philip Larkin, `nothing and nowhere, and is endless...`) it can darken, it can obscure, it may float to and fro like a mist, evoking serenity and power. Mirroring each other, the sea takes its color from the sky. As Helen Hunt Jackson observes in `My Lighthouses,`

I look across the harbor's misty blue,
And find and lose that magic shifting line
Where sky one shade less blue meets sea...

It might be said to be not so much a color as a state of the light. It is also the void; primordial simplicity and infinite space which, being empty, can contain everything or nothing."

Text for Blue Theme, White Background:
"I saw Venice turn blue because she forgot to care,` sings love lorn Charles Aznavour.

No color isolates itself like blue. 
If the lamp's blue shadow equals the yellow 
Shadow of the sky, in what way is one 
Different from the other?

Asks painter Fairfield Porter in one of his poems, `A painter Obsessed by Blue.`

The word sings. You pout pronouncing it, form a kiss, moue slightly, blowing gracefully from the lips as if before candles on a birthday cake. ( Is that why Rimbaud insists the color of the vowel o is blue?) In the unambiguously grammatical, culturally neutral, core-vocabulary-informed, artificially constructed lojban, the word blanu, 'blue,` incorporates all of English blue, Chinese ian, the la of Hindi nila , the azu of Spanish azul , the olu of Russian goluboi, and of course outside the official six lojban base languages, the word also incorporates all of German blau, along with the obvious resonations of French bleu."

Text for Red Theme, Black Background:
"Red is the boldest of all colors. It stands for charity and martyrdom, Hell, love, youth, fervor, boasting, sin and atonement. It is the most popular color, particularly with women. It is the first color of the newly born and the last seen on the death bed. It is the color for sulfur in alchemy, strength in the kabalah, and the Hebrew color of God. Mohammed swore oaths by the 'redness of the sky at sunset.` It symbolizes day to the American Indian, East to the Chippewa, the direction West in Tibet, and mark ruling Aries and Scorpio in the early Zodiac. It is the color of Christmas, blood, Irish setters, meat, exit signs, Saint John, tabasco sauce, rubies, old theater seats and carpets, road flares, zeal, London buses, hot anvils (red in metals is represented by iron, the metal of war), strawberry blondes, fezes, the Apocalyptic Dragon..."

Text for Red Theme, Red Background:
"It is, nevertheless, for all its vividness, a color of great ambivalence. Eugene Field wrote of the effects of red,

There's that in red that warmeth the blood
And quickeneth a man within,
And bringeth to speedy and perfect bud
The germs of original sin

Love is red. So is Death, its counterpart. It is the color of fire and flame. A bride's gown in China is red. So is the button on a Mandarin's cap.  Red means happiness in China, where people under roofs tiled that color prosper. At new births in old China, red-colored eggs were often sent by messenger from neighbors to the new parents in the ritual of pao-hsi, 'reporting happiness,` and in marriage rites the Chinese bride formerly wore red and processed to the wedding in a red sedan chair, where, walking on a red carpet to the ceremony, she found the groom, who, greeting her, lifted up her red silk veil."

Text for Red Theme, White Background:
"In celebrating we `paint the town red,` and no other color. Upon merely seeing the color red, the metabolic rate of a human being supposedly increases by 13.4 percent. When subjects in a test viewed a red light -- hand-grip strength was being measured -- their strength increased by almost 20 percent. Giorgio's exotic perfume, Red, has such a powerful scent that it had been reported in places to kill people's appetite for food, and there are certain restaurants in the Los Angeles area which actually prohibit entrance to women wearing it. Its passion as a color is arguably matchless. One of my favorite Jazz records, which I own on an old RCA 78 r.p.m. (no. 26141-8) , by Larry Clinton and his Orchestra, is called `A Study In Red.` Wasn't it Kandinsky himself who said that red called up the sound of trumpets?

It is generally agreed that of all the colors, red has the strongest chroma and the greatest power of attraction...."

Text for Yellow Theme, Yellow Background:
"Yellow is a color, for all its dramatic unalterability, with a thousand meanings. It is, surprisingly, at least to me, a child's first color preference. Wallace Stevens called yellow the 'first color,` with an attendant suggestion of decay and dissolution ('the grass is yellow and thin'), but more often uses it affirmatively, linked with the sun: `The sun is clownish yellow.` It is the color of cowardice, third prize, the caution flag on auto speedways, adipose tissue, scones and honey, the nimbus of saints, school buses, urine, New Mexico license plates, illness, the cheeks of penguins, the sitch dog's livery in grey hound racing. Highway signs, Pennzoil, and the oddly lit hair before adulthood of all Australian Aborigines. Easter is yellow. So is spring, and much of the beauty in autumn. It is redolent of old horn, dead coins, Southern wood, and the generous sun."

Text for Yellow Theme, Black Background:
"It has many tints and hues. Banan is the proper term for the yellow color of a ripe banana. (Yellow taxi cabs or beach wagons painted yellow that were once used by resorts to meet guests at train stations were called 'banana wagons.`) a `high yaller` referred, mostly in the last or early part of this century, to a very light-skinned or xanthomelanic black or octoroon, an attractive color in women to Southern men ( and in the popular novels of Frank Yerby), and octoroon balls were extremely popular down South, especially New Orleans, in the 1880s. Nat `King` Cole in `Honey Hush` sings, `I'm steppin' out with them high yellows / snubbin' all the other fellows.` The race of nomadic negroid pygmies on the western border of Uganda called Mbuti are reddish yellow. Jazz singer and semi-nude dancer Josephine Baker's lovely skin in 1924 was dubbed 'banana-colored.' Or was it for her girdle of bananas, which flew hither and yon, when she did the Charleston or Black Bottom in the Revue Negre, wearing nothing else?"

Text for Yellow Theme, White Background:
"It is the color of butter, arsenic, sponges, candlelight, starving, lawns, translucent amber, and cathode transmission-emitters in electrical chassis wiring. It represents wisdom, illumination, intuition, power and glory, the hue of confessors, divinity, magnanimity, ripening grain, eternity, and the gates of Heaven. In Egypt it is the color of happiness and prosperity.

There is tangerine yellow, a sort of honeysuckle. Golden ironweed . Celandine, a greenish yellow. Yellow, which is often associated with green (O.E. geolo) is etymologically connected to that color by way of chloros (Gr.) and to gall, the yellowish fluid secreted by the liver. Gamboge is reddish yellow in hue. Carthamus is also yellowish red in hue, some what like chili oil or the color of a stained dinner plate after a meal of Indian curry or many a dish in the American Southwest."

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