The group exhibition Geometric and Minimalist Art brings together works by the following artists : Barry Allikas, Hans Arp, Marcel Barbeau, Marie-Eve Beaulieu, Jean-Sébastien Denis, Kosso Eloul, Yves Gaucher, Betty Goodwin, Robert Hedrick, Jean-Paul Jérôme, Denis Juneau, Stéphane LaRue, Fernand Leduc, François-Xavier Marange, Mario Mérola, Guido Molinari, David Nash, Jessica Peters, Françoise Sullivan and Irene F. Whittome.
The exhibition deals essentially with geometric abstraction and its possible extensions, such as minimalist art. It gives an account of the perenniality and universality of this current that has crossed the 20th and 21st centuries, a current characterized by a certain form of rigorism. The elementary principles which constitute the foundations are the abolition of the third dimension and a contrario the development of the bidimensionality; a pictorial matter which does not convey any more emotions, but which must be perceived only for what it is; the line and the colour as means of expression; and finally, the use of the primary colours, that is to say yellow, blue and red.
In Montréal, geometric abstraction was embodied by personalities who belonged mainly to the second generation of the Plasticiens, such as Guido Molinari, Denis Juneau, Yves Gaucher, Claude Tousignant and Jean Goguen. From the mid-1950s to the 1970s, the plastic aesthetic was at the forefront of the scene, and motif was king. The artists favoured a formal vocabulary, hard-edge surfaces and compositions that tended toward a subtle balance between volumes and spaces.
It is important to underline the determining influence that the American art scene, New York more precisely, has had on the Montréal pole. The Québec-based artists observed what was being done in the United States and even spent time there. The works of Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Barnett Newman (1905-1970) and Josef Albers (1888-1976), to name but a few, sparked a keen interest among Canadian visual artists.
The works in the exhibition highlight the diversity of approaches of the artists presented, all generations included, whose common project was to develop a formal language. A new dialogue is thus created between these different methods.
Image: Jean-Paul Jérôme, "Comètes", 1993, acrylic on canvas, 142 x 168 cm