Line & Colour in Contemporary Art

By: Kristin Vance



All artwork, from cave paintings created tens of thousands of years ago to work coming out of contemporary studios today, incorporates all of the formal elements of art. The elements, line, shape (or form for 3-D works), space, colour and texture are chosen by artists to convey concepts and to elicit emotional responses. A formal analysis of the basic elements provides a foundation for more in-depth explorations, such as how a work might fit within an art historical context or a critical theory framework.

For now, we leave these efforts to future historians as recognizing and responding to the formal elements is also the first step on a journey toward a personal connection to the artwork.

When we first approach art, we take in visual information that instantly ignites a response. Our reactions, based on personal preference and experience, ultimately lead us to consider what potential the work holds for us emotionally and conceptually.

The It’s Elemental: Line and Colour in Contemporary Art auction offers works with the two most expressive elements in an artist’s toolbox. As the basis of composition and expression, no matter the medium, lines can convey strength, fragility, tension, motion, order and chaos as well as lead the eye in any direction. They can be actual lines (lines drawn or painted or otherwise deliberately made that connect two points) or implied (lines that we see in our mind’s eye, such as a horizon line). They can be geometric or organic, vertical, horizontal or diagonal, or all of these combined into one work of art. Colour in artwork serves to establish mood and create energy; we respond visually to warm colours differently than we do cool, for example. Bold, bright hues might excite our sensibilities more so than those at the other end of the spectrum that tend to elicit a sense of calm.

When viewing the works offered in this auction, we encourage you to explore the pure perceptual experience of line and colour first by noticing your immediate reaction to the elements and then enjoying the discovery of a personal interpretation and connection.



This auction is offered online from October 24 – 29.
We invite you view the catalogue.

Previews are available by appointment. All health and safety protocols are observed.

Contact us to request additional images, condition reports, or to find out more about Contemporary art at Waddington’s.

Related News

Start Collecting

Everything you need to know to get you started bidding in our auctions at Waddington’s.

Learn More

How to Sell

Find out why selecting Waddington’s is the right choice for consigning your works of art, wine or specialty items.

Learn More

Become a Member

Sign up for your Waddington’s account to start bidding, manage your invoices, and track items you're interested in.

Sign Up