Matthew Biederman’s Subtracting Color (Rosco) explores colour by gradually adding filters of various shades to a background of white light from a light box. In adding the filters, the unattributed pair of hands in the video actively subtracts colour from white light until only black can be perceived. Biederman uses a standard set of Rosco theatrical light filters to explore the transmission of light and colour. In making present the role of human hands, the artist draws attention to small increments of colour change and to the role - and limitations - our perception plays in processing colour.
Laid down next to each filter is the name of the colour and transmission wavelength chart, presenting colour simultaneously as a quantifiable number, a sensorially experienced hue and a name. Colours are transmitted as a subtractive process which is repeated with different sets of colours until a full set of filters are exhausted. The work explores colour in ways that draws influences to Richard Serra’s Color Aid, Paul Sharits’ films and Dan Flavin’s fluorescent sculptures.