By Sheila Wickouski

Dance like nobody’s watching; Courtesy of Susan Mason (ARTECHOUSE)

Blue is all around us, evoking many emotions from the optimism of “blue skies” to the sadness of “singing the blues.” In art, the color blue has been used for tens of thousands of years, from a blue Egyptian funerary figure, a Chinese blue-and-white teapot, Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa, to Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring. In fashion, from clothes to the color of hair.

And now, ARTECHOUSE is going blue. Classic Blue Pantone 19-4052, that is – the Pantone Color Institute’s Color of 2020. 

Both simple and elegant, Classic Blue is the theme inspiring Submerge by ARTECHOUSE’s  three immersive installations, in three different cities. Crystalline, which opened in Washington D.C., on Oct. 15, represents the quality of dependability in the crystals of earth. Opening later this fall, Celestial at the NYC space in Chelsea Market represents the inspirational quality of the blue sky while Aqueous in Miami, the calmness of blue waters.

Crystalline is a surreal experience, offering a brief refuge from the endless everyday with a visit to an illusory, blue-hued castle. The Great Hall in the main gallery, with its sturdy long table and wooden benches along with heavy iron chandeliers and candelabras, suggests the furnishings one might find in an ancient castle. The dancing images of blue lights on the surrounding walls and accompanying sounds are the surreal realm of modern digital technology.

A hallway through a gallery of several dozen framed abstract works created in shifting blue lights, leads to the Mystic Cellar that is one of the unique treasures of Crystalline. Through portals one can view the exhibits of Celestial, in New York and Aqueous in Miami (after their openings in November), which will thus make the connection between earth, air, and water, and the installations. 

Exiting through the Solar Gallery with its giant balls of light offers a parting moment to reflect on the resilience of blue in this technology-powered journey that is both an adventure and a contemplation.

Timely and timeless,Crystalline is now at ARTECHOUSE until Jan. 3, 2021.

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