Unafraid Red curated by Colin Darke2017 / exhibition / members' show
7th April – 4th May 2017
Unafraid Red was the first of four exhibitions showing the work of QSS studio artists, curated by artist Colin Darke. Red, signifying both sexual arousal (helped along with lipstick and blusher) and potential danger (in everyday signage) is, of course, the colour of blood. It became a symbol of workers’ struggle when, in 1831, calf’s blood was used to die the flag of the Merthyr Rising in Wales. It has since remained the colour of socialism – confused in the USA, where Donald Trump’s tie proclaims his allegiance to the GOP.
The colour’s symbolic value has varied over time, but its association with love has remained a constant, both physical and spiritual. The red carnation makes its appearance in many paintings of the Madonna and Child, confirming the image of love in its purest form. Red’s association with unrestrained passion, on the other hand, made it ideal as the symbol of fire, as one of the four elements. St. Antoninus of Florence, in his theological coding of colours, quietened its ardour, asserting red as representative of charity, while Goethe later said it “conveys an impression of gravity and dignity, and at the same time of grace and attractiveness”.
The diversity of the work in Unafraid Red resulted in a variety of conflicts and relationships which reflect the historical and universal significance of the common feature of their dominant colour.