Colour, that fundamental element, lies at the heart of this second presentation in the series On Abstraction. Saturated, opaque or transparent, linear, dense or immaterial, it is an intrinsic characteristic of each of the works in the exhibition. Whether intense or subtle, colour takes on multiple functions here: structural, referential, symbolic, even anecdotal.
The show features sixteen works produced between 1967 and 2010 by artists from Québec: Nicolas Baier, Pierre Dorion and Roland Poulin; from elsewhere in Canada: Jack Bush and Ron Martin; from France: Daniel Buren and Bernard Frize; from the United States: Gary Hill, Alfredo Jaar, Sol LeWitt, Kenneth Noland and Shinique Smith; and from the Netherlands: Pieter Laurens Mol. Various movements and disciplines are represented, such as informal, gestural and geometric abstraction, minimal art, conceptual art, painting, sculpture, photography and installation.
Kenneth Noland, Jack Bush, Ron Martin and Bernard Frize enliven the entire pictorial surface through their use of the orthogonal grid, the logic of the oblique and the layering of chevrons, the systematic accumulation of lines of colour, or else its liquefaction and dispersal. By fragmenting the pictorial space, Pierre Dorion renews and extends it. Daniel Buren revisits expanses and configurations, and fills them up with repeated, vertical bands of colour. Pieter Laurens Mol inserts, within his monumental grid, areas of flat, blue colour reminiscent of Mondrian and Klein, and direct references to the history of art. In the opaqueness of juxtaposed black boxes, Alfredo Jaar contains and conceals the unbearable images of a massacre. Nicolas Baier proposes a vision of a wiped, smeared blackboard as a screen offering every possibility. In Shinique Smith’s work, the accumulation of bundles of black clothing¾found, new or used¾becomes a baroque minimalist monument dedicated to personal mythologies. Sol LeWitt provides an understated, black-and-white (and slightly blue) exploration of geometric figures reduced to their simplest expression. Finally, Roland Poulin envelops an imposing rectilinear volume in a remarkable mauve and crimson polychromy, generating a surge of energy that evokes the idea of progression toward the infinite.