In Blue (2019)

Portfolio photo of boxed assemblage art by Frank Turek


This is a small, long, narrow box fronted with blue-tinted glass. The outside of the box is covered with a wallpaper sample with a black, pink, and green lotus scallop pattern. The feet of the piece are small light sockets holding blue candelabra bulbs. The background of the assemblage is a black-and-white reproduction of the painting A Visit To Aesculapius by E.J. Poynter. On the left side of the enclosure, mounted on a card, is a color illustration of Civil War Union soldiers sitting around a campfire. In front of this card are two small gold ball ornaments. On the right side of the enclosure is a color illustration of a Depression-era man in a blue sweater. To the side of this card is a vial containing a color illustration of a cow’s leg vein. The side panels are of similar illustrations. The inside top panel is a color photo of a blue sky with a landscape horizon. The floor of this piece is a beach scene with a few people relaxing on sand chairs. The back of the box is a close-up underwater color photo of a scallop with blue eyes.


In several ways, the blue in the title is evident. This piece is fronted with blue-tinted glass, several of the collage elements feature blue, and its feet are inverted blue light bulbs.
Blue is a tricky word to use. It’s difficult to get any depth of meaning out of it, since culturally we tend to think of the color in generalized ways such as in /the blues/, or as a favorite color. With this piece, I’m trying to find a way beneath the meaning of blue.
Interestingly, the depressive mood associated with this color is an invention of the modern era. Aside from this dominant meaning, the association with the color blue is generally positive. It’s the color of the outdoors. There’s a sense of power to the color, which is why many military uniforms use it. It designates a social class, as in blue-collar.
In all my assemblages, I am very aware of the use of color. In some pieces such as this, I will use color thematically as an equal partner to the imagery. So in some ways, this piece is about my ideas on the use of color in artwork.