Lot 67

RED QUANTIFIER, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1/88 on the reverse,
75.98" x 65.98"
193.00 x 167.60

Est. $90000/120000
Realised: Please contact us for the value of this item
Auction Date: 05/30/2016

Provenance: Private Collection, Toronto

Note: By the 1960s, Montreal artist Guido Molinari was one of the most important abstract painters in Canada, known for large scale abstract compositions of saturated colour. One of the later Plasticiens (along with Claude Tousignant), Molinari created work which resembled American “hard-edged” painting by colour field artists like Kenneth Noland, and Minimalist work with its emphasis on geometry and simplicity from the same period. But Molinari was more interested in the dynamic movement that occurs between colours which appear to change under the viewer’s gaze. He first succeeded in eliminating the hierarchy of forms in pictorial space (figure-ground relationship) by causing the viewer’s visual perception to move back and forth between black and white shapes. From 1963, he began using vertical bands of colours of equal width, varying their positions relative to each other to create optical experiences (see Figure 1. The work requires longer and repeated viewing time for the optical effects to take place. Molinari began his “Quantifiers” series of large quasi-monochrome canvases in 1975 and worked on them for the following twenty years. In these works, he explored the relationship between the canvas size, the number of internal trapezoid colour masses (Roald Nasgaard’s term) which divide the canvas vertically and the range of closely related colours. In the series of Red Quantifiers from the mid- to late 1980s, to which this lot belongs, Molinari varied the width and number of the vertical colour masses and adjusted their edges to deviate from the true vertical. This causes the unpredictable play of visual effects across the surface of the canvas as planes of closely related reds form and reform with sustained viewing. Viewers are not entirely certain what they are seeing. Molinari preferred using pure colours for the greater energy they emit, which enhances the quality of animation across the surface of the painting.

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