terize formanowski

cascading into colour

Terize Formanowski explored concepts from eastern and western cultures in her thesis Uplifting the Soul: Colour Healing and Aesthetic Pleasure for the New Millennium, which led to this recent exhibition in Cairns. lt follows several years of research, during which Formanowski moved from objective to non-objective representation in new media. Cascading into Colour focused on the interplay between viewers and colourful objects, including digital imagery: it looked at the role of the viewer, colour therapy and a world in which our capacity to adjust, depends on our ability to perceive and transform our environment. But the primary concern here was not social transition but rather formal relationships and how they may be modified or transformed to enhance human potential in everyday situations.

Formanowski explains that her 'work investigates the healing value of colour and art in education and society' .1 Her laboratory may be in public art galleries but The Loft Arts pace is neither square nor formal. lt has sloped approaches to short and long walls. With this territory in mind, the artist systematically produced and arranged multidimensional patterns with colourful pigments, digital transparencies and light projections, to create a synergistic setting that triggered unconscious perception. The process of perception itself was focused by experiences with colour rather than figurative elements. Consequently, boundaries dissolved between what was and was not perceived. The issue here was not to bring logic to the gallery experience, but rather refer to feelings, ideals and the potential for using colour in other human environments. Personal factors affecting colour preferences were difficult to suppress while viewing The Power of Light and Colour, in seven battery-operated boxes across one wall . Each was painted a different colour that, with assistance from a low-voltage bulb, centrally placed inside each base, seemed to become palpable energy. This work was a variation on the coloured boxes exhibited by Formanowski in 2000, which used aroma to enhance responses.2 Similarly, the suggestive power of sound triggered personal responses in Musical Rainbow, a large installation of organic shapes coloured with pearlescent and opaque paint, carefully placed at regular intervals across another wall. The impenetrable surfaces were mysterious yet they concealed nothing. Instead, the harmonious tones suggested salubrious relationships between coloured shapes in architectural space. Earlier works were left untitled to allow the audience to feel and reflect on the impact of colour outside of specific interpretations, yet other descriptive titles provide cues. This was most evidentĀ in Balance Among Scattered Energies, which was located beside Interrupted Balance, where the complementary arrangement of coloured shapes highlighted how perceptual skills operate. Both geometric and organic patterns with digitally manipulated images on paper, transparencies and video allowed viewers to see how slight variations affected their perception of confusion and fusion.


1. Formanowski, T., Cascading Into Colour, p.4.

2. Donohue, A., 'Light + Colour = Energy', Eyeline, Spring, 2000, #43, p.52.