Moving from Dark to Light with COLOR – Artist Insights from Erika Manning

“When my world felt very small and was extremely turbulent and stressful, it also was winter in Maine. I desperately needed to bring the light back not only into my life but into others as well. It was all feeling like this huge alchemical squeezing, this pressure,” shares artist Erika Manning. “Then, after a while, something interesting and maybe lovely started to happen creatively.”


It made her a bit crazy thinking about such heady and abstract concepts, but the questions kept her thinking and painting.

To bring the light back, sometimes I need to enter the darkness. When I return to the light, what do I bring with me from the dark spaces? What has been jettisoned on the trip back to the light? Can I maintain a lightness of being without occasional trips back to the dark? What about my personal history? When I step back into the light, do I emerge as a clean slate, or do I keep all my scars and imperfections of body and character? Then, of course, there is the idea or feeling of conjoining and merging with something much more significant than one’s small self. 

“I was looking at a lot of cosmos images, stuff from the Hubble Telescope, as well as Tantric Yoga Yantras and Sacred Geometry, 70’s light art, Hilma af Klint, Gustav Klimt, Yoyoi Kusama’s Infinity Nets, Aboriginal Art,” she explains.  “I found myself thinking a lot about the spiritual and healing aspects of art in general.”

For Manning COLOR, both the show and the actual use became salvation.

“I fell in love with luscious springy and summery greens, dreamy blues and purples, peachy pinks, mauve, and orange, and stepped way out of my comfort zone to explore some reds.”

Click to see the 2021 COLOR SHOW in its entirety.