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Created on 04/2018

Monochrome: in black and white, or using only one colour.

Artists have created monochromatic paintings for centuries, often using black ink or grisaille - the use of grey oil paints, from the French for grey, gris. The first photographs were in monochrome. With time, black-and-white photography has come to be associated with the documentary tradition and photojournalism, and still has a classic, timeless feel.

For some artists, working in monochrome represents an aesthetic and spiritual purity, and both black and white are symbolic. White is often associated with purity and innocence, and black can represent evil and death. In Western cultures black often symbolises grief, whereas white is the colour of mourning across Africa and parts of Asia. 

Black-and-white images may seem simple, but our established and emerging artists show the variety of shades of grey. It brings a simplicity to the image and allows the artist to play with light and shadow - chiaroscuro. In this collection, you will find unique abstract paintings, drawings and photography that show the diversity of these two tones in contemporary art.

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