Julie Rafalski

Remembering a Painting

The first few pages of Josef Albers' book, 'Interaction of Colour,' explain how everyone sees colours differently and how remembering a specific colour is almost impossible.

To me this phenomenon of each person remembering a colour differently is analogous to each person remembering an artwork differently.
If I call to mind Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie, I would be able to roughly describe some elements of it, but not call an exact picture of it to mind. My copy of this painting that I carry around in my memory is incomplete and haphazard. I couldn't even recreate the painting if given a canvas and some paint.

There is a notion that once you've seen an artwork, you "know it" and there is no more new experience to be gained from it. But it seems that no matter how many times you look at a Mondrian (or any other piece of art you find interesting), there is always more to see every time you encounter it. Each new 'meeting' with a piece is fresh, almost as if it's happening for the first time.