From the ancient Egyptian use of calcium copper silicate known as Egyptian Blue (recognized as the first known synthetic pigment) to Yves Klein's creation of IKB (International Klein Blue) to the poetic prose of Maggie Nelson's Bluetes in which she shares 240 ruminations on the color blue, the allure of blue has captivated the human psyche for centuries. Blue is the water that can bridge or divide our increasingly interconnected world, and blue is the day sky that all nations share. In this newest group exhibit at STUX, Out of The Blue seven international artists reflect on the theme of blue and its cultural and sociopolitical impact. From abstract interpretations by Heide Trepanier (USA) and Kuno Gonschior (Germany) to more figurative depictions by Wei Dong (China), Akikazu Iwamoto (Japan), Ruud van Empel (The Netherlands), Thordis Adalsteinsdottir (Iceland), and Halim al Karim (Iraq), each artist invites this color into their visual language and uses its human appeal to convey their experience.

The deep indigo tones of Ruud van Empel's flowers enliven the richly dark radiance of his subject's skin. The teal drapery in Wei Dong's interior provides a lush and regal backdrop for the Chinese figure's pale flesh. The sky blue dress adorned by Thordis Adalsteinsdottir's model matches her eyes, drawing viewers into the woman's body, encouraging them to engage more directly with the fine pencil and paint marks that track the figure's lived experience. The strangled bird of Akikazu Iwamoto, bluing from the lack of oxygen, struggles for freedom and peace from within the tight grip of the human intention, as the artist experienced while growing up in Japan in the aftermath of Hiroshima. The hand-painted blue face of Halim al Karim's figure mirrors the woman's gaze, and serves as a reminder of a time when the artist himself could only share his eyes with the sky from a hole underground, his hiding place after his escape from the military during the Iran-Iraq War. The mystical blue landscape of Heide Trepanier evokes an otherworldly scene and encourages onlookers to fall in to the relationship between color and line. Kuno Gonschior's profoundly impastoed blue canvas, the color that spiritually signifies the healing power of God, originally painted as part of a series to console his gravely ill wife leaves viewers with a glimpse of hope that maybe color can help us overcome our ultimate struggles.