Arvon, VASW – Ellsworth Kelly WHITE OVER BLACK – I am the shadow underneath…

Arvon writing task: select a postcard from those offered and write from the perspective of a particular part/element of the image – not from a character in the image, but from within the image itself. We were given a large choice of postcards and I selected this one – minimal content and black and white. I had written another piece that had reflected upon binaric opposites of black and white, right and wrong and the grey that resided between them, and between all dichotomies).

My work involves a lot of brokering, of seeing both sides, respecting them yet occupying a space between. As a freelance practitioner that is my norm. My first ever website was called “Grey Matters” in the late 90’s. It was a play on words that still resonates within me – like singing that makes the skull vibrate.

Being at Arvon stretched the way we/I approached writing – so many of us write specifically for work purposes e.g. catalogue texts, reviews, press releases, but rarely for ourselves. I really enjoyed writing this, the image is a very simple one and allowed me to explore how it works, what makes it rich and evocative.

Ellsworth Kelly, White Over Black, 1963
Ellsworth Kelly, White Over Black, 1963


I am the shadow underneath

Hosted on black, barely visible

Where white drapes over me, I gain attention

You will notice white more too

When I lurk below it

Even the black cannot deny me

When white reveals me

Without my subtlety

Their boldness would go unnoticed

They would be flat dull and lifeless

I am the space between

I give the illusion of space

I am their breathe

January 2014

Published by carolyn black

I'm an artist and also commission contemporary art in unusual locations. As a producer, I fundraise, curate, project manage and deliver projects. I'm also a writer and film-maker.

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