Empire Colour

 

*Some Notes on Heraldic Form*

Sky burning with stars; and in the midst full orb’d a silver moon;
– the eye of night O’er all, awful in beauty, forms her peerless light”

Aeschylus

This excerpt from an ancient story describes the sight of an individual’s shield. The voice of a herald calling for more than recognition of mere identification or rank. The passage gives special consideration to colour, light, and nature. It shows us the healthy portrait of a phantom landscape; a world seemingly disconnected from our current time. Not only secluded to fantasy kings and queens, contemporary perspectives that are enforced through heraldic regime influence all exhibiting bodies.

Heraldic Colour TheoriesMitsubishi Marking

 


 

varvara stepanova

When thinking of the institutional upbringing of art and exhibition, one should recall the action of heralds within the realm of curatorial achievement. Often seen as officers of simple decorative affair. This unique figure in society stands to upright our colour, figure, and political shape; to assemble a cast of symbols and materials for collective vision or movement.

Heraldic practices are closely tied to artistic tradition, motivating the production of politically charged images and monumental effects. They work to reflect social unity through outward facing visual display.

 

                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Varvara Stepanova modelling one of her designs

 

 


 

 

mishima

These forms work to pedestal colour as a fundamental driving force within culture, and our subsequent creative projects. Heraldic structures are distinguished from similar visual branches like advertising or propaganda.

You could see advertisement – which has been built through private interests – as the natural progression of heraldic display. But heraldry operates through more specialized channels of patronage

We see the search for new heraldic forms as a free interpretation of medieval aesthetic. So this process does not act as ordinary historical research, but could help to focus a similar style and intensity for artifacts made in the future.

There is a narrative fascination that comes with heraldic forms of the past. Fortification of the body and landscape take place through monumental efforts. The creators of fantasy worlds use these forms over and over, allowing for both enchantment and realism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                    Mishima’s Coup Attempt 1970

 


 

tahrir sq

Untitled-1 Tahrir Square, Cairo

This lineage of symbols and illustrative decor continues to reveal a mysterious connection, between the outer face of power and its own internal commanding essence.

What can the interpretation of these forms show us about the power of picture? As a painter I see a rich and complex practice that has remained outlier to the vast sphere of teachings about art and image.


Look for:

  • Tincture and Colour Synthesis
  • Actors and Agents
  • Figure and Ground
  • Silhouette
  • Relief
  • Audience
  • Hierarchy
  • Composition
  • Monument
  • Festivals and Competition
  • Diplomacy
  • Formal Aesthetics, Codes, Displays
  • Historic Sources and Events
  • Patronage
  • Technological Innovation

Stay Tuned: Big shout out to my brother Jonah McKay. He’s the brains behind a new digital scheme to create a catalogue of procedurally generated -heraldry based- emblems.