Journal 02: Josef & Anni - By Caitlin Johnson

I’ve been thinking about love, as everyone does in February. I’ve also been thinking about artists Anni and Josef Albers. Josef Albers is known for his studies on the interaction of colors—how each  one brings out a different quality in another.

People interact that way, too. If I am grey and you are blue, our pairing says something in an even tone. If I am grey and you are yellow, the match is more surprising and uncertain. If I am grey and you are black… let’s not speak of that here. 

Josef’s counterpart, Anni Albers, is known for her geometric weaving. She filled notebooks of grid paper with designs for textiles and complex knots. With weaving, Anni Albers took a practice that was not commonly seen as art and looked at it long and hard enough to see how it could be.

Likewise, relationships transform with a point of view. A pair of eyes that looks for beauty and meaning will find them wherever it looks (although the same is true for those who look for flaws).

The Albers marriage was successful but also competitive. Anni Albers once compared Josef’s paintings to easter eggs and Josef Albers compared Anni’s textile designs to wallpaper.

The interactions between people are more complicated than those between colors. It’s not just grey and blue, but grey and blue on a cold day when one is hungry and the other hasn’t slept because she’s been thinking about what grey and blue mean together and if there’s a better meaning to be found alongside another shade.

It’s difficult to value what you see and not what you could see. That’s what I’ve been thinking about. Knots that bind and knots that don’t and why.

Shop Josef Albers 

Shop Anni Albers