The philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrih Hegel (1770-1831) refers to this as the dialectical method. He explains that none of these elements exist in isolation because the synthesis incorporates both thesis and antithesis. Therefore no postulate is completely true, only the whole can be true. Without diving off into how this impacts the human spiritually and concepts such as the void and becoming, I would like to consider how this process involves the artist and the viewer.
Kelly is referred to as a "hard edged" painter (a term readily illustrated by the two examples of his work above). This is painting in which abrupt transitions are found between color areas, and color areas are often of one unvarying color. What interests me about these pieces however, is the way Kelly sometimes creates a subtle shadow between the two colors. Imagine it this way--in the painting on the left the orange area is thesis, and the blue area is antithesis. Therefore the area between is the void. It is definitely the bit that draws our attention again and again.
I find this to be an interesting way to examine these works. When I traditionally consider a spectrum, i tend to think of two points quite far apart with a lot of space between them. (This probably dates back to my elementary mathematics experiences with a number line...) But Kelly's simple composition compresses the space between.
Then, if I consider the painting on the right, it is a bit more complicated. Still quite simple in composition, it points out that not everything exists along a single spectrum. Is it a stretch then to say that the first painting is the thesis, the second is the antithesis? Don't any two items fall into this pattern if we allow our minds to go there?
On a visual level, the colors react with one another in their immediate juxtaposition, a color effect called simultaneous contrast. For example, if one places a color area of bright yellow against one of bright green, a red flare appears when the viewer stares at the dividing line. Lots to consider here...
Perhaps all of these ideas are a stretch, but that is what I like to do each morning, stretch myself mentally and artistically. The practice changes the way I see everything the rest of the day.
Today I will close with this from Niels Bohr: "The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth."