Gray matter

Since recently reading Jamie Bennet’s article, In the Midst of Color: reflections on color’s inescapable presence, I have been thinking a lot about the color gray. More of a tool than a color, it is a utilitarian mix of black and white created to determine the value of other colors in its proximity. Gray is a ‘service color’ which allows other ‘real’ colors to appear more potent. Bennet comments that if you are interested in the strategic use of color, you must address gray.

The color gray is a neutralizer, allowing for the material to succeed to form, and for the viewer to view the form of an object without obstruction. Gray can also erase history, pretext, and interpretation. It is a democratic tool, subsidizing an object in to its more primal elements.

Despite the intrinsic qualities associated with gray, it seems that our contemporary culture is adverse to this color. We spend hour dying gray hairs, movies won’t be watched if they are black & white (gray), gray days are percieved as dismal, and gray suits are associated with a conformist and boring life style.

Personally, I have long since stopped trying to hide my gray hairs, and feel that it’s time to embrace this wonderful hue into our aesthetic vocabulary.

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