Color, Facture, Art and Design

Color, Facture, Art and Design

Artistic Technique and the Precisions of Human Perception

How is technique political?


With its appeal to the most subterranean aspects of perception art was always destined to be one of the last bastions of the transcendental in the 21st century.

Color, Facture, Art and Design investigates the "beauty" of art based on the somatic "magic" of the physical body and its relationship to nature, arguing that the sensual affect of expert artistic combinations of art materials: pigments and resins, in some paintings exploits a bridge between the intricacies of human sentience and the external world.

Art is thus more accurately located next to the sciences of language, mathematics, physiology and psychoanalysis. As the "pure mathematics" of the discipline, this materialist definition of fine-art develops guidelines for architecture, design, cultural-studies and ultimately social change.


...I am struck by the novelty and ingenuity of the author's arguments about the physical construction of Vermeer's work and the anti-transcendence that attention to this material aspect makes possible. I like very, very much as the argument that Vermeer shows the way to a sensuous-and not narrated-appreciation of a work of art, and that this sensuousness, shown to be the result of manual labour and manipulation of the materials, helps to de-construct the narrative of transcendence. This is really brilliant stuff,.... ~ Jack Ameriglio, Rethinking Marxism

"Beautifully written..." ~ Deborah Wells

Speaking for myself, this constitutes a definite advance into the very poorly theorized area of the "sensuous", that is, ecology as the human being and nature directly interact through the senses....the sensuous is precisely the point at which Marx's materialism distinguishes itself from idealism and mechanical materialism, and becomes historical. So you are working with something very profound here, yet with a firm grip on something very empirical as well. ~ Joel Kovel, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism: A Journal of Socialist Ecology

" it is precisely this breaking down of rigid disciplinary categorisations that gives the book its appeal, and in this respect it follows in a fine tradition of materialist/Marxist histories...""combines scholarly insight and critical engagement." ~ Houman Barekat

Il a donc superposé de la peinture à l’huile sur une base blanche et épaisse, par des couches fines et des tons clairs, créant des effets de transparence. Iona Singh a d’ailleurs écrit une étude sur cette technique de Turner et la perception physique dans son livre Color, Facture, Art and Design. ~ Les œuvres en prisme de William Turner - Première rencontre avec Turner, by Agnès Tedman - Dieuxième Temps review

".... Iona Singh argues that, in a world saturated with industrially produced synthetic colours: dyes made from coal tar, a by-product of oil production, we are losing touch with any meaningful connection with the materiality and facture of colour and our sensory perception. ‘Use of these strong, lightfast and inexpensive synthetic colors are at the expense of nuance, tincture and the plenitude of natural formation.’ She suggests that the ubiquity of coal tar colours in the built environment has contributed to the alienation of the senses and our estrangement of colour on an aesthetic level – colour is divorced from structure and does not appeal to the body in any real material sense anymore: relationships are lost and thereby the ‘sensual ground of related cognitive processes...." ~ Katrina Blannin, Monochrome/Duochrome, Abcrit blog #5,

I think the author has the potential to make quite a splash with the presently well-argued thesis about how the materials aspects of the construction of Vermeer's paintings account to a large degree for the "aesthetic effect" that is seized on for questionable purposes-by many bourgeois and even Marxist critics. This paper serves as a great corrective regarding the exclusively "narrative" focus of contemporary cultural criticism and the neglect of the material "determinants' of narrative in painting and more generally, in all forms of creative production. ~ Jack Ameriglio, Rethinking Marxism

Iona Singh
Iona Singh Iona Singh is an author and translator specialising in art and design and specifically in the realms of art and design materials. A graduat...

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