Beyond Black and Mourning

Since the recent tragedy of losing my son I have had to struggle to make sense of my expressions in art. To be successful in this journey I turned first to the quietness of Chinese brush painting and Haiku. This allowed me to express my emotions in straight forward line, brush strokes and simple words. As I started to produce works I became aware of my own interpretation of an artistic voice and language for my mark making. The Black of my mourning has become the color of my art as I go beyond black, ‘Outrenoir’, to use the words of painter Pierre Soulages.

I am intrigued by the notion that while black is supposed to be the absence of color, its reflective and absorptive surface actually presents a variety of hues. I use different densities of black color derived from hand ground Chinese Ink, carbon, mars and ivory acrylic black and thickened onyx house paint. The resulting matte surfaces and reflections of light mix with the intimacy of the paper to create an endless depth. I mix this with a variety of textures and geometric forms to establish an organic motion. Occasionally I use acrylic reds and golds or gold leaf in the process. The layers in my work are structures and forms of emotions. They are part of our individual consciousness, waiting to be touched and expressed.


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Donald Kolberg graduated with a Fine Arts Degree from California State University, Los Angeles. He taught at the Los Angeles School of Art and co-founded Art Core, an organization dedicated to the open dialogue and display of the work of emerging artists. He continued his Master studies at Otis Art Institute. While at Otis Art Institute his teacher and main influence was internationally recognized painter Arnold Mesches. In Artcore he worked under the guidance of Lydia Takashita. With their teaching Donald learned the value of depth, texture and form in images and surface. He incorporated this into his concept of Life Forms, the portrayal of the human figure as a landscape of life and a celebration of form through Sculpture and Painting.

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