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The Limited Palette

September 27 – December 16, 2018

The Limited Palette is an exploration of 18 art objects–all created within the last 50 years–from the Art Museum’s Permanent Collection that exhibit minimal use of color. Objects range from two-dimensional drawings, paintings and prints to three-dimensional ceramics, both functional and conceptual. Artists represented include Alice Ballard, Genevieve Willcox Chandler, Linda Fantuzzo, Nina Gelardi-Shedd, Chris Hanson, Steven Jordan, Lynda Karl, Elizabeth Keller, Kincheloe, Jean McWhorter, Alex Powers, Chris Ritsch, Allan Taylor, Martha Thomas and Charles Williams.

Artists choose to use a limited palette for a variety of reasons. For some, like the Abstract Expressionists of the mid-20th century, color choice and application is directly related to mood and emotion. We can look to Mark Rothko’s [1903-1970] soothing color field paintings or Jackson Pollock’s [1912-1956] lively drip paintings to see how, while totally different in terms of style, their palettes were mostly limited to a few colors—sometimes only one or two. For others, especially those artists whose subject matter is nature, like famed Impressionist painter Claude Monet [1840-1926], a limited palette is particularly useful for achieving desired hues. The landscape painter benefits from a minimal range of more neutral tones that require mixing paints, as most colors we see in nature are not highly saturated like paint colors straight out of the tube. For artists who paint en plein air, meaning outside in nature, using only a handful of colors means, simply put, less supplies to purchase, tote around and manage.

A limited color palette forces the artist to pare down and think more about color relationships, like which colors mix well together to achieve desired hues and what colors look good against one another. While the range of hues that can be achieved with a limited palette of colors is endless, the fewer colors one mixes together, the more harmony will exist between them. The Limited Palette is a study of color minimalism through a wide variety of art objects, not only in terms of media and scale, but also subject matter, style and technique. Visitors will enjoy pondering the vast possibilities of making art using only a handful of colors, a technique touted by many of the great masters, like Rembrandt [1606-1669], John Singer Sargent [1856-1925] and Anders Zorn [1860-1820].

the work:


Myrtle Beach’s Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum strives to be one of the finest visual arts museums in the Carolinas. With 11 galleries that change throughout the year, Myrtle Beach’s only art museum offers exhibitions featuring paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, collage and more. A visit to the Art Museum’s exhibitions can be enhanced by its lively programming, including artist receptions, tours, lectures, workshops and classes for both adults and children.