How do color and light contribute to our understanding of mass, volume, and space? How do color and light contribute to our understanding of mass, volume, and space when it comes to art?
I have to say that I do not believe that a person's understanding of light, color, mass, volume, and space are relevant when it comes to one's appreciation of art. While some may appreciate a work more than another based upon their understanding of those areas, I think others simply appreciate art based upon its aesthetically pleasing values.
An examination of the paintings of Rembrandt will answer this question. Light certainly intensifies dimension as does color. As Rembrandt uses a strong light from one side in many of his works, the lighted side is, indeed, markedly different from that side which remains in shadow.
When I think of color and light I think of shading. Shading can be used in a very subtle way. It certainly draws the viewer's eye to perception. You can use brighter colors and shades to show depth and mass, or draw attention to something.
People don't notice the the figure of Mary in the Pieta by Michelangelo is larger than life with a corresponding larger than natural mass, or the figure of Jesus is smaller than life with a corresponding smaller than natural mass. Is that due to color and light?