|Thesis | The World of Teruo Sato |Technique|3-2-C Chroma
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C  Chroma                                                                                       

   Chroma, the third attribute of color, decides the position of the object and the setting in the drawing surface. This position is decided by the subjective element of the composition, shown in the person part. This is the viewpoint position which the painter, as observer, takes in relation to the object of the picture. Therefore, chroma is an essential attribute of the subjective element of the composition.
   In "perspective plan", chroma decides the physical position of the objective element of the composition, and in "the projection plan" it decides the psychological position. Therefore, even from the perspective of chroma function, it can be ascertained that "projection plan" is appropriate for an expressionist method.
   As far as the physical position is concerned, chroma becomes lower as the distance from the viewpoint increases. As for the psychological position, chroma is raised in areas that gather attention.
   In "perspective plan", the natural "aerial perspective" becomes the central technique when the setting with a low chroma is placed in a distant view. In "aerial perspective", in addition to chroma reduction, the so-called "Sfumato" and "Frottie", that obscure the line of the object, are often used together.
   As shown in the person part, contrary to the objective element of the composition, "figure" and "ground" makes the distinction between the area that gathers the viewer's consciousness and the subordinate area that surrounds it. "Figure" concentrates the attention of the viewers while "ground" makes the "figure" stand out.
   The theme of the picture is always drawn as a "figure". Also, often times the object is drawn as "figure" and the setting as "ground". This means that, since "figure" and "ground" are also psychological positions, chroma in "projection plan" necessarily comes to play an important role. "Figure" must always have a higher chroma in relation to "ground".
   In photography, chroma is mechanically determined. However, picture is not a photograph. No matter how thoroughly literal a picture is, it has to be a reproduction by a painter of the real world. Therefore, it might happen sometimes that the painter is concentrated on a far distant object. In such a case, even in a literal picture, chroma is determined by the painter's discretion, apart from physical position.

Neuespektive ; 2001

  As well known, lens of camera has a depth of field, the area in which the focus is the sharpest. In a representational painting, too, by introducing this photographic effect, it becomes possible to set an object's chroma high, even if it is located in a physically far point, by considering it as a "figure" that is accommodated in the depth of field.
   In the previously mentioned "Neuespektive", Sato used this effect in his work for the first time. When this work was finally created, it had passed about 60 years since Sato decided to be a painter.

   The establishment of chroma in Sato's picture is classified clearly according to composition and type of picture. Common to all the pictures is the emphasis on "The Wall of Pamirs", for it is at the core of Sato's composition. Also, because his pictures are basically drawn in monotone colors, aerial perspective is often introduced when chroma is lowered.
    The most conspicuous difference in the establishment of chroma can be seen between a portrait and a landscape. In a portrait, the basic compositional intention is that of "projection plan" and the distance effect is shown not in the space but in the modeling of the person. Here, chroma is established so that "The Wall of Pamirs" is emphasized.
   As for a complete etude, in the case of pastel painting, white paper is left as it is to form the setting. (No Title16) Because it has no color, chroma is zero. In the case of tableau, the canvas is left as it is.(Etude) This color, too, is muddy with very low chroma. In the case of an incomplete etude, muddy color with low chroma is often painted roughly around the model like an aura, as if it was tracing "The Wall of Pamirs". (No Title 17)

No Title 16
No Title 16 ; 2000
Etude ; 1984
No Title 17
No Title 17 ; 1998

   Now, black is not used in setting even if it is a low-chroma color. (This excludes accent part. Sato's accent does not constitute the setting but a part of the outline of the object.) A black setting tends to bring in the Christian concept of original sin, as argued in the section on value setting, and it is against Sato's religious view. Therefore, the gray used in setting has always a value higher than a certain level.
   An uncommon example may be "The Youth". In this picture, there is no remarkable decline in chroma, but by obscuring the wall in the back, his own picture and the curtain next to it, aerial perspective is faintly introduced for an extremely close area. A similar technique is used for "Falling Ill 2", (which belongs to incomplete etude) too. And as mentioned earlier, the introduction of aerial perspective necessarily brings in the establishment of low chroma.

The Youth
The Youth ; 1980
Falling Ill 2
Falling Ill 2 ; 1976

  In "Red Towel", a technique resembling that of aerial perspective is used in Lautrec's (1864-1901 French painter) poster in the upper part of "The Wall of Pamirs". While linear perspective is used only restrictively (for it creates ray), aerial perspective, which can be called a natural method, is quite often used.
   In a landscape, since the feature of "perspective plan" is strongly reflected, a different method is used. Yet, pictures belonging to self-portrait category are the exceptions even if they are landscapes. Let's see the example of "Wind, Snow and Time". In this picture, aerial perspective is used for the shrubs around the tree that is the central object. Then, the hill around the tree becomes an invisible "Wall of Pamirs" because it intercepts the horizon. Other tree pictures of Sato have similar composition, too.

The Red Towel
The Red Towel ; 1982
Wind, Snow and Time
Wind, Snow and Time ; 1996

Race of Arab Horse
Race of Arab Horse ; 1993

   Similar to it are the pictures of racehorse that belong to the self-portrait category. We shall see as an example "Race of Arab Horse". Here, the scenery that lies in the distance from the dashing horse is almost all blurred and aerial perspective is wholly introduced. By this, the sense of speed of the horses and "The Wall of Pamirs" are made clear. Other pictures of racehorse by Sato have similar composition.
   The situation is the same for the pictures of Don Quixote, which can be called a clear self-portrait picture. For example, in "Brocken", everything except Don Quixote scenery, the sky and the rainbow in the back, Don Quixote's shadow, Sancho's figure are all blurred. This is the same in other pictures of Don Quixote.
   But, in "Broken Spear", in which Sato's self-projection is not yet fully achieved, part of the ground is processed as in usual landscape. However, as if to counterbalance it, in this picture the sky occupies a big space and most of it is blurred.

Brocken ; 1986
Broken Spear
Broken Spear ; 1974

   This is so because this picture represents Sato's inner world. Therefore, in integrated pictures that were concluded before this work such as "The Token on Wilderness inside of Myself", "Wind", "The Pillage by a Tank" and "The War Theory", which constitute inner expressions of Sato's self, the setting is processed in the same way.

The Token on Wilderness inside of Myself
The Token on Wilderness inside of Myself ; 1970
Wind ; 1970
The Pillage by a Tank 1
The Pillage by a Tank 1 ; 1970
The War Theory
The War Theory ; 1970

   As for usual landscapes without the meaning of self-projection, features of "perspective plan" are strongly expressed. This is so either with land picture or sea picture. Also, in integrated pictures after "Broken Spear", such as "The Inheritance", "The Formation of the Wilderness", and "The Neo-Pyramid Times", the establishment of chroma is done in the same way as in a usual landscape.

The Inheritance
The Inheritance ; 1974
The Formation of the Wilderness
The Formation of the Wildernes ; 1980
The Neo-Pyramid Times
The Neo-Pyramid Times ; 1989

   As for usual landscapes, basically the whole chroma is established nearly uniformly. Of course, distant parts are obscured, but only in modest parts such as diminished trees ("The End of Winter") and distant electric light poles ("Thaw").

The End of Winter
The End of Winter ; 1980
Thaw ; 1976

   Such a landscape, by allowing distant view to be looked over, has inherently a composition with a strong feature of "perspective plan". Since such a feature becomes stronger when aerial perspective is clearly used, Sato avoided it in order to keep the balance. The intention is the same of the aforementioned case of  linear perspective, when the presence of rays is restricted by avoiding buildings. In other words, in a landscape, the use of both linear perspective and aerial perspective is restrained. (In portraits, in contrast, there are cases in which both methods are used in an exaggerated way.)
   Most importantly, we have the problem of "The Wall of Pamirs". In above described way, by a pan-focus establishment of chroma in which the focus is made clear until a distant view, this broad focused area functionally plays the role of "The Wall of Pamirs". In other words, it becomes as if a huge transparent sheet is set up.
   The above discussion leads us to the conclusion that Sato's establishment of chroma was based not on the content of the picture but on the intention of composition setting. That is, the decision was based only in terms of whether to draw the picture as a "projection plan" or a "perspective plan". In either case, "The Wall of Pamirs" is unconsciously emphasized, by using various methods.
   As we have seen, value setting has objectivity and hue setting subjectivity. Chroma possesses both of these elements. However, Sato almost completely eliminated subjectivity in chroma setting. Then he concentrated his efforts mainly in the spatial recognition, called composition making.
   As previously argued, Sato's value setting was based on his world-view concerning his position inside his own painting and on the compositional consideration concerning the decision about the object's center of gravity in a picture. Hue setting relied almost solely on the individual world-view. In this way, Sato distinguished neatly between the way his world-view penetrates into the painting and the way composition was considered according to the physical attributes of color.
   From another perspective, we can say that in this way, by relating his world-view and his compositional intention to color, which is the essence of medium, Sato was able to make use of it as a painting instrument.
   Sato's work on color arrangement was very architectonic. However, an architectural component in the usual meaning is something that appears in the field of line setting, and it is difficult to have an intuitive understanding of such a concept as architectonic arrangement of color. But as shown in the section of composition, the line setting of Sato was extremely non-architectonic.
   The architectural element in color and the non-architectural element in line the very integration of such extraneous elements is at the core of Sato's creativity. It can be said that the combination of such heterogeneous talents is a miracle that happens only to specially chosen artists.
   The system of mathematics as the framework of truth is said to be beautiful. Sato's way of handling the color, too, is beautiful in the same way. "Picture is the mathematics of feelings", said Sato. This dwells in the unseen deep part of his act of creation.

                                               \ Written, summarized and translated by Taketoshi Murayama@\                                                          \ Original translation is rewritten by Chigusa Tanzawa \

This text must not be translated into any other languages without author's permission.

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