Art & Design: Contrast

December 19, 2009 – April 18, 2010

Ledger & Murray Galleries

This exhibition is the fifth in a series of six exhibitions presented over two years that demonstrates the roles of the Principles of Design through artworks from the Museum’s Permanent Collection. As Edwin Forrest, a famous 19th century American actor, claimed “A passion for the dramatic arts in inherent in the nature of man.” We are irresistibly drawn to drama, conflict, and contrast. It is central to any novel, movie, or play as well as our topics of conversation and daily news. It captivates us. For a similar reason, artists employ contrast in their art works to guide the viewer’s gaze and to set a tone. By juxtaposing opposite or contrasting elements — such as light and dark, rough and smooth, large and small, vertical and horizontal — artists can create drama and visual dynamics. Contrast can also be produced by pairing complementary colors or by breaking repetition. Artists do so to visually enliven and highlight important elements in their works and to communicate meaning to the audience.


  • Cowles Charitable Trust
  • Dorothy Chao Jenkins
  • Mark & Lynn Hollis
  • Ron and Becky Johnson
  • The Reitzel Foundation
  • BCI Engineers & Scientists
  • Eunice Lee Fuller Fund
  • Summit Consulting, Inc.