Photo Credit: Maria Molteni

Maria Molteni (Boston, MA / Nashville, TN)
Southern Constellations Fellow. July 2016. Homemade Haint Blue paints, various blue objects.

Molteni believes that the “intuitive aesthetic perception of color is legitimate on its own terms.” Like Josef Albers, Molteni’s work investigates the visible color spectrum as contextually responsive (rather than fixed) from scientific and cultural perspectives.

Revolving Spectrum revisits this concept of flexible hue by employing Haint Blue: a color that contains cultural and spiritual influences particular to the American South. A southern dialectical derivative of “haunt,” Haint Blue wards off unwanted spirits as its application to porch ceilings, windows, doorways, and other thresholds mimics celestial openings that spirits may escape through, or bodies of water, which they are afraid to cross.

Shades in this family are found beneath the peeling wallpaper all over Elsewhere, particularly along the ceiling of the Ghost Room installation. Throughout her residency, Molteni maintained daily rituals that began with private rooftop meditations on a blue blanket positioned above the Ghost Room. Working from traditional milk and lime recipes, the artist mixed paint batches during intimate performance demos and applied the pigments to the transoms of second floor doorways, the Ghost Room windows seen from the front facade of the building, exposed areas of the Ghost Room ceiling, and loose bricks in the garden.

Lastly, Molteni accumulated blue objects and installed them as protective charms in every door-frame.

Traditionally, Haint Blue is never static or standardized as its homemade production is determined by variants each time it’s crafted (such as indigo). Haint practices trace back to African Gullah culture and referenced in various literary documents like To Kill a Mockingbird and Mountain Ghost Stories and Curious Tales of Western North Carolina.

Photo Credit: Guido Villalba Portel



Photo Credit: Guido Villalba Portel