Joan Witek (b.1943) has used the color black for her life as an artist on both canvas, paper and film. While appearing to be simple and easily grasped there is an ongoing language of proportion and meaning in this abstraction for her. Black is usually considered the absence of color: it is severe, rigorous, associated with death, or depression or repression. But as Lilly Wei has written: "Witek plays these oppositions in her work: black being ascetic and alluring, meditative and expressive, flawless and flawed, fierce and demure, a distinct unequivocal presence, yet subtle, elusive."

I am attracted to black because of the beauty of the color and for me, its infinite variety. It is a color that has been my inspiration since I began painting.
— Joan Witek


Joan Witek in her Duane Street Loft

NYC, 1974


“Black is usually considered the absence of color: it is severe and rigorous but this is only two facets of its many qualities. One of the reasons I am attracted to black is indeed its dichotomies. It is sophisticated and primitive, emotional and intellectual, it is a color that everyone responds strongly to, in one way or another”
— Joan Witek