How do artists allow us to perceive light - and shade - in an artwork? If the artist isn't restricted to one medium, this task will vary from medium to medium, from paint on canvas to the carving of marble.
Sculptors can play directly with light by manipulating the surface onto which light will naturally fall for intentional and particular effects to the eye. Their forms catch light in predictable ways: the same way light falls on the very objects they choose to represent.
Painters, however, have consistently faced the challenge of how to let the eye recognise shaded and light-saturated objects and spaces whilst working on a flat surface. Plays with colour - different tones and shades - have defined this exploration through painting's history.
Plays of light through different colourations were central to Impressionist painting. The subsequent modern pursuit to represent light in its purest form - light as light rather than light as colour - pushed the concept of painting (of pigmented medium on canvas or board) to its absolute limits. The experimentation with colour in painting to convey lighting effects set the foundations for the integration of electric light into art and the expansion of painting into spaces suffused with light.
The following exploration of some of the Gallery's collection works will consider the extent of the challenge that painters face in comparison to their sculptor counterparts. And it will take a closer look at how a selection of the artworks housed within the Gallery have used colour to let the eye recognise lit and shaded areas.