Home Magazine Let Black and White drive your Art collection!

The combination of the two opposing pigments can make your collection unique and uproarious.

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Black and White art is often overlooked when matched to explosive rainbow-like paintings and bright artworks. Considered such a strong visual element, colour gives meaning and importance to different medium artworks. Just like that, the absence of colour has a wide range of allegorical meaning. In fact, black and white artists often choose to cast aside the colour spectrum and bring their attention towards the pictorial power of black, white and everything in between, i.e. grayscale.

Throughout history, numerous artists have appointed black and white paintings to highlight various contrasting ideas and realities close to societal issues. The combination of the two stark opposites (black and white), have been used in the post-modern era for juxtaposing content, objects and implications. Black and white translates the world as we know it through mediums such as painting, prints and photography.

To dive deep into the meaning of black and white, each colour must be investigated individually.  Black holds a deep psychological meaning, and embodies darkness at its finest. The pigment is made from a combination of charcoal and iron. The depth of black characterizes what is transcendental and lurks in the shadows. Often not even defined as a colour, it shows the most intimate and hidden fears of the human being. The absence of light, associated to the anonymity, expresses a lack of control and a trap-like feeling. The lightlessness also stands for inner and outer spaces and the undefinable mysteries of these. The colour also projects a gothic air, and works as a symbol of authority in different natures of arts, such as fashion. Fashion and art are always strictly related; as timeless as the “little black dress” or the traditional tuxedo, the tint is understood as one of the most powerful tools for artists to give meaning to their work.

The boldest representation of colour pairs perfectly to white. Placed at the opposite end of the spectrum, white is the pure counterpart that gives black its stance. White is often used for weddings, ceremonies, and birth occasions, whereas black is for mourning, death and darkness. White, in fact, is the bed for peace and loyalty.

The arrangement of these two hues are frequently used to debate identity and to investigate the presence of the two forces of light and dark that reside within us. The continuum works to convey a message; they function as accelerator to one another. Plainly, displaying black and white art in your home prompts profound contemplation for both the house owner and its guests.


William Furniss. Hong Kong Contact, 2014. Courtesy of William Furniss Photography

William Furniss utilises black and white to depict the city of Hong Kong. He takes several square photographs to convey the message of everything being in the right place, in the right light. This 50-shot image took over a period of about 40 minutes is taken from Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. An archival pigment limited edition that shows how to look at the big picture through smaller lenses.


David Yarrow. Kung Fu Panda, 2022. Courtesy of Whistler Contemporary Gallery

David Yarrow is one of the most influential photographers of our time – he started his career between 17 and 18 years old where his strategy was to absorb knowledge from his hero-photographers. In the late 1980s, sport was a big thing for me in those days, and sports photographers were his biggest idols. David Yarrow photographs transmit the degree of timelessness that black and white aims at.


Jef Aérosol. Grey Child, 2021. Courtesy of Galerie Martine Ehmer 

Jef Aérosol’s painting is the perfect example for grayscale. Grayscale is an accurate term to describe an artwork which uses all the shades of gray. In this painting, the main subject emotions transpire through the tones and shades. Looking frantic for some kind of response, the child’s features are pronounced and his big eyes looking above are used as a symbol for hope.

Black and white art hides a lot of potential and visual traits. The monochrome trend ranges an unusual visual power compared to chromatic artworks. These place emphases on the composition of the work itself rather than consigning bright distractions. A black and white piece is essential for your art collection to be all-embracing.

Cover image: David Yarrow. Road Trip 2, 2018. Courtesy of Baldwin Projects

Written by: Sveva Berto

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