Press Release

‘Color Code,’ McEvoy Arts’ Fifth Anniversary Exhibition, Explores How Color Shapes Our World 

Spencer Finch, Study for Back to Kansas, 2014
Spencer Finch, Study for Back to Kansas, 2014
McEvoy Arts’ Fifth Anniversary Exhibition Explores How Color Shapes Our World

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts announces its fifth anniversary exhibition, Color Code, a presentation of modern and contemporary artworks that explore, challenge, and expand on the various ways in which color is used to convey meaning and elicit emotion. Color Code features four new commissions by Bay Area artists Sadie Barnette, Angela Hennessy, Clare Rojas, and Zio Ziegler,alongside dozens of works from the McEvoy Family Collection.  

The newly commissioned presentations by Barnette, Hennessy, Rojas, and Ziegler add fresh perspectives on the ways in which artists intentionally approach color choices to connect ideas and tell a story. These new works supplement a wide array of painting, sculpture, and photography from the collection by such visionaries as Etel Adnan, Ricci Albenda, David Alekhuogie, William Eggleston, Spencer Finch, Justine Kurland, Marilyn Minter, Gordon Parks, and David Benjamin Sherry, among others. By drawing upon these diverse perspectives, Color Code assembles a world-class group of artists who think deeply, and in different ways, about color.  

Over the centuries, theories about color abound in both art and science. Aristotle held that God sent down color from the heavens as celestial rays. Sir Isaac Newton’s experiments with prisms led him to declare that the real basis for visible color is in light itself, building a color system that is linked to musical notation. Contemporary color theories hold that hue is color, but black and white are not. In the wilder corners of humanity’s relationship with color, hunts for the perfect hue have resulted in lawsuits over color ownership, and the creation of brilliant but toxic colors like vermillion and Scheele’s green have endangered the artists that use them. From ancient practices like the mining of lapis luzuli to contemporary methods of creating synthetic colors in laboratories, our behavior indicates that our fascination with creating color is unlikely to end.  

For visual artists, filmmakers, and designers, color is a tool that connects us to the ideas, stories, histories, cultures, and values embedded in their works. Color patterns and systems speak to us as much as words and symbols when reading a visual work of art. And even as artists make such intentional choices about color, their work is still perceived slightly differently by each person, community, and culture, speaking to color’s specific yet open-ended appeal.  

Color Code brings all these histories and meanings together to consider the ways in which color can bind us together and pull us apart. Sadie Barnette’s installation is a rainbow tribute to family that celebrates connection and legacy. Angela Hennessy’s tableaus bring forth the complicated racial and colonialist histories embedded in black and gold. Inspired by her roots in printmaking, Clare Rojas’s portraits of a girl play with the ways in which palette can alter space, character, and mood. And Zio Ziegler‘s paintings are as complex as the imaginary landscapes of Hieronymous Bosch, delving into the notion that memory is a fiction in the digital age.  

Color Code includes a program of short films in the Screening Room, organized by the Exploratorium’s film curators Liz Keim, Samuel Sharkland, and Kathleen Maguire. Live workshops and demonstrations by artists and designers will be announced. Visit for information.


Sadie Barnette is an Oakland-based multimedia artist who explores the personal and the political through images and installations that reference her family history. She has had solo exhibitions at institutions including The Kitchen, New York; The Lab, San Francisco; the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; and MCA San Diego. Barnette has been awarded grants and residencies by the Carmago Foundation in France, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. She is the inaugural Artist Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Black Studies Collaboratory and holds a BFA from CalArts and an MFA from UC San Diego.   

Angela Hennessy is an Oakland-based artist who uses a color, light, and gestures of domestic labor to expose latent mythologies of identity. Her work has been included in exhibitions at institutions such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, and SOMArts, pt. 2 Gallery. Hennessy has been featured in Sculpture Magazine, The New Yorker, Surface Design Journal, among others. Hennessy is an Associate Professor at California College of the Arts and is certified in the Grief Recovery Method.   

Clare Rojas is a San Francisco-based artist who explores storytelling and abstraction through her highly personal visual language. She has had solo exhibitions at institutions including CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Savannah College of Art and Design. Rojas has been awarded grants and residencies from Artadia, Eureka Fellowship, and the Headlands Center for the Arts, among others. She holds a BFA in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.    

Zio Ziegler is a Marin County-based artist whose large-scale works investigate form, human perception, and consciousness. He has had solo exhibitions at institutions including Allouche Benias Gallery, Athens, Greece; Ever Gold [Projects], San Francisco; Marin Museum of Contemporary Art; and Ochi Projects, Kethum, Idaho. His murals have been commissioned in cities around the world, including San Francisco, Tokyo, and London. Ziegler teaches at Stanford University and holds a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design.


McEvoy Foundation for the Arts presents exhibitions and events that engage, expand, and challenge themes present in the McEvoy Family Collection. Established in 2017, McEvoy Arts creates an open, intimate, and welcoming place for private contemplation and public discussion about art and culture. Rooted in the creative legacies of the San Francisco Bay Area, McEvoy Arts embodies a far-reaching vision of the McEvoy Family Collection’s potential to facilitate and engage conversations on the practice of contemporary art. McEvoy Arts invites artists, curators, and thinkers with varied perspectives to respond to the Collection. Each year, these collaborations produce exhibitions in the McEvoy Arts gallery, new media programs in the Screening Room, as well as many film, music, literary, and performing arts events each year. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit  

Image Credit: Spencer Finch, Study for Back to Kansas, 2014. Acrylic and pencil on paper. McEvoy Family Collection. Courtesy of James Cohan.


High-resolution images and additional materials are available by request

Media Contacts:

Wendy Norris, Norris Communications

Bill Proctor, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts or