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  • Elvira Dayel

color me Red

It's dusty, rich. Pastel spreads itself fine & wide on the floor of my work space, it is time until the final vision emerges. As I draw, for hours at a time, the pastel powder covers my body, my hands, my face, it gets into my blond, vividly coloring it pink. It's not until the evening when it bleeds itself off in the shower while disappearing with the water stream.

My hope is that direct colors & simple lines speak loud & clear. All mark- making is evaluated against another & history (art history). They are thought of in terms of emotion, meaning, aesthetics, & individuality. Red has strong power to draw attention to itself, it's captivating. Red is open, bold, complex. It may cause a range of emotions from fear to rage, from compassion to hatred, from allegiance to indifference. I find myself being it's captive. I am its captive.

Red is a color of choice for a woman in my work. Female figure is often placed alone, in a constructed / invented landscape. Once there, her presence is announced through line & color. Her voice, her existence, her spirit are loud, vivid, red.

"she is bridge" drawing

"she is bridge," drawing: soft pastel on watercolor paper, T38" x 51"W (private collection)

In “She is Bridge” the female figure is a wholesome form, flat and solid red, almost like a cut-out. She is neither stressed nor strained. The figure stretches across connecting the two landmasses, bridging the gap between them with her body. The color red is a reminder of her human nature, the fact that her body is made of flesh and bone. This is a hint to what may be read as one of the most basic components of our existence which is a cell. Meanwhile, red here wants to be misconstrued. It is the color of lust and desire, attraction and power. Most of my nudes are red, I naturally want them to be red, red, redder. They are a mix of strength and vulnerability, basic human cravings and a divine uniting force. I want them to yearn, to give subliminal messages.

"my neighbourhood," drawing: soft pastel on watercolor paper, T22" x 30"W

“My neighbourhood” with the red horizon tells a very different story. Here red is used as a color of blood, tears and tragedy. It tells a story about the country my parents, many of my friends and me are from. A country building towards a bright future, but with quite a precarious present. History, politics, conflict - so many controversies ingrained in just one shade of red for me.

"north dakota access pipeline" drawing

"North Dakota access pipeline," drawing: soft pastel on watercolor paper, T44.5" x 30"W

"North Dakota Access Pipeline is one of my latest "reds." In this one I tried to stay non-objective yet convey the sense of struggle and immense pressure. I hope you are feeling it as I do!

I'd love to hear your thoughts and feel your feelings. Write them down here or personally.

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