Harmonics Image 2.jpg


The Harmonics series of paintings by artist Stephen Auger.



Many of the paintings in Harmonics appear to be color studies – and they are perhaps primarily about color. But this series is also deeply sensory and, of course, alludes to music. Each visual composition carries within it a particular reverberation, a resonance that relates to the color harmony within it. As we spend more time looking, we might even feel it: a hum within the body.

In practicing the art of optical color mixing, Auger uses only red, green, blue, white, and black in his paintings. Areas that appear to be orange and yellow are only so in the eye, not in reality. In many works in the series, Auger has poured optical glass spheres over a heavy-bodied oil paint, a technique that adds another layer of experience to the paintings – that of reflected light as you move around them.

There is a really deep longing that artists have had for a long time to work with paint and create the sensation of light and the illusion of light. Using paint in this way, you create the actual experience of light, not the illusion of light. But you are creating the experience of light within the mind’s eye. I call that color harmonics, just like a musician would take two sounds and create a third sound or even an overtone. When you think about light and sound, they’re both waves and they behave very similarly.