In a month that includes Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year, it’s not surprising to see an abundance of red around town. But Crossing Art Gallery in Flushing is playing the crimson card without reference to Cupid or Chinese lion dances.
The gallery’s latest show, Seeing Red features scarlet paintings, sculptures, photography and film by nine artists from around the world. The effect is striking: a room full of vibrancy and energy.
Many of the works are abstract — oil paintings featuring bold geometric shapes, circular pieces with gold detailing, root-like sculptures made of electrical wire. Some are more literal, such as a series of photographs depicting scenes from Central and South America, each accented with brilliant red elements.
There’s no deep inner meaning behind the exhibit’s color scheme; a red show just sounded attractive, according to Jennifer Junkermeier, assistant director of Crossing Art.
But as the show took shape, Junkermeier said, it became clear just how many meanings the color red holds. Politically, it has been used across the globe as the color of revolution. In the mid-1800s, socialism commandeered the color, and in the early 20th century, it became synonymous with communism. Here in the U.S., the media have used red to denote the Republican Party in recent years.
On a social level, Junkermeier said, different cultures have unique ways of relating to the color red. In China, for instance, it symbolizes good luck, whereas western societies often view it as a sign of intensity, passion and lust.
The varied perspectives on the hue inspired the show’s title, Seeing Red. But despite the differences in how people see it, Junkermeier said, most have a visceral reaction to the color that transcends geographic and political boundaries.
“It actually does something to your body,” she said. “It’s supposed to heighten the senses.”
Junkermeier added that the works showcased in the exhibit can speak to all audiences and that one can’t assume an artist approaches a color from a certain perspective simply by virtue of his or her nationality.
“It’s not just ‘They’re from Asia, so this is the only way they think about red,’” she said. “There’s a universal way we think of red.”
Regardless of your take on bold primary shades, Seeing Red is apt to leave an impression as one of Flushing’s more memorable shows.
When: Tues.-Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Through March 28.
Where: Crossing Art Gallery, 136-17 39th Ave., Flushing