LiNO BERNABE 

There is an image seen through a boy’s eyes while diving that persists, that of the vibrancy of marine life in Miami, the octopus. The octopus changes the color, form, shape, and texture of its skin to ward off prey, to camouflage, to attract a mate. In painting, this primitive conception of color as a function of biology is replicated through my work with external sources of additive light that is used to alter the shape, form, and color on the canvas in sequential form—light, being ultimately, color in motion plus time.

As a color theorist, my philosophy is centered on the history of color and its interaction with light from the evolutionary perspective. The “psychosis of color”, if you will, and the question: How have the qualities of color, from the hindsight of intellectualized natural selection, formed its function in the psychological sphere and from where does this function originate? 

I have always been attracted to the carnevalesque; my early work was the struggle between the narrative of fear, sex, gore and the dilemma of illusion. The question then was how to transform the canvas into a palpable sensory experience beyond the three-dimensional plane without falling into the trappings of spectacle; my study was supplemented by the concept of cinema. 

It wasn’t until a color theory class at Cooper Union and my professor’s wise words that “painting is about the paint” that I returned to the influence of that image, the octopus. I became obsessed with biology, the cell, the micro and macro and so found the answer: the deletion of narrative, the simplification of the canvas to its form and color. 

Without the limitation of narrative, the psychosis of color—red equals dangers, but from where do the evolutionary, the psychological roots of this association come from?—and the effects of its alteration by additive light on the psyche; its illusion of motion, came into focus. I have spent years on technical training in the science of color and light and the work you see today is a culmination of that but it is still, admittedly, only the beginning.