BLUE FIGURE II, 1962
oil on canvas
signed; also signed, titled and dated on the reverse
50 ins x 36 ins; 127 cms x 91.4 cms
Blue Figure II is one in a series of “core” pictures that Jarvis executed in the early 1960s. Here, he aimed to integrate the figure and background in an overall painterly style that owes much to Abstract Expressionism. Jarvis was one of several abstract painters working on the west coast of Canada at mid-century (Jack Shadbolt, Gordon Smith, Takao Tanabe). A student of B.C. Binning and Jack Shadbolt at the Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design) between 1941 and 1948, Jarvis continued his studies under the Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann in New York from 1948 to 1950. Hofmann’s theory of “push and pull”—the dynamic interplay between colour, shape and placement on a flat surface that creates competing forces to produce depth—may well have been behind this work. A dark central form appears to hover before the picture plane, cut loose from the space behind it.
Private Collection, Toronto