McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Charlotte, NC
September 14–December 2, 2017
The San Francisco–based artist-baker Leah Rosenberg inaugurated McColl Center's project space with Color for the People, a site-specific exploration of color and taste.
Rosenberg’s process begins with a daily routine of observing colors outdoors and capturing them with her smartphone camera. Each week, she selected a color from Charlotte’s landscape and applied it to the gallery walls and furniture to create an immersive color-field painting and meditative space. To deepen visitors’ sensory engagement with her project, Rosenberg hosted a series of “Color Bar” events over the course of her residency: on selected Thursday evenings, she served cocktails and treats to match the color of the week, encouraging the public to reflect on the relationships between experiences of color, flavor, and people.
Rosenberg’s influences include the artist and pioneering color theorist Josef Albers. A German refugee who fled Nazi occupation and immigrated to the United States, Albers taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina from 1933 to 1949, and his teachings on color became metaphors for life. “In an age in which increased human sensibility has become such an obvious need in all areas of human involvement, color sensitivity and awareness can constitute a major weapon against forces of insensitivity and brutalization,” said Albers. His art was about human relationships as much as it was about aesthetics.  Today, amid growing social tensions and extreme xenophobia, Rosenberg’s Color for the People intended to create space for remembering the vital roles that color (and food) continue to play in shaping our consciousness and in fostering shared experiences of pleasure and joy, which are, as Rosenberg says, “medicine for times like these.”