Can all colors live in harmony beside each other, or would some make better neighbors than others?
On a canvas, would soft pastels, like delicate babies pushed in strollers through the park, breeze past the open office windows of mundane neutrals without disturbing the khaki uniformity inside the cubicles?
And if a parade of jazzy, jubilant colors burst onto the street like a Mardi Gras celebration, would anyone be able to concentrate on anything else at all?
You may think you know the answers, but Missy Mace and Nicole Anderson urge you to reconsider.
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Commissioned to create a mural that welcomes patrons into UNC Charlotte’s Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts, the pair mixed an acrylic neighborhood of colors – all the hams and wallflowers of the color wheel – to portray each of the performance arts housed within the hall: dance, music, theater and art.
The result is a 10-by-30-foot mural that casts vivid hues next to shy, subtle ones, and brooding shades beside humdrum, workaday tones.
The reason is simple, said Mace, 23, who is studying for her bachelor of fine arts degree in painting at the university.
“We wanted to evoke feelings from the loudness of colors and the small melodies of neutrals,” Mace said. “Sort of like you hear the work.”
“We hope they (observers) feel a great energy from it, that there’s something happening in each department that’s very lively,” said Anderson, also 23, a recent graduate of the BFA program in painting.
The mural begins a pilot project aimed at showcasing student work at the university. Mace and Anderson’s six-paneled piece, titled “An Endless Performance,” will hang over the hall’s box office until the spring. After that, a contest among student artists will decide whose work will follow it in the same space.
Free rein guided the collaborators’ muse for the inaugural project.
“We wanted them to have reference to performing arts without being too specific,” said Associate Professor Susan Brenner. She served as an adviser for the project along with Assistant Professor Maja Godlewska, who assisted before leaving to participate in the Fulbright Scholar Program in Poland for the past several months.
Mace and Anderson were selected to create the work because of their similar work styles. Their previous individual artwork often focused on the abstract, and “An Endless Performance” reflects that, said Brenner.
“They did it with such skill and such grace that I was incredibly impressed by them,” she said. “If you look at it, you start to pick out various aspects of performance arts.”
In the piece, arrows represent rhythm and flow; repetition of colors shows the monotonous practice that dancers, artists and musicians must undergo to excel in their craft.
At any given time, the lobby of Robinson Hall bustles, either with performers waiting for rides after rehearsals or with audiences waiting to enter the theater. Anderson said she hopes they will all take the time to examine and ponder the mural above their heads.
“I hope people study it and see different things every time they look at it,” she said.