Sale of Art, The Women’s Committee of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Private Collection, Collingwood
Though not a signatory to the Automatistes’ manifesto - Lise Gervais (1933-1998) was only 15 years old when Paul-Émile Borduas published the Refus Global manifesto in 1948 - her practice is deeply influenced by their ideals of free expression and artistic independence.
The title of this work, D’Un Pole à l’Autre - From One Pole to Another - suggests that this movement is progressive or rhythmic, a stitch between two extremes or the pull of a magnetic attraction. Indeed, the work is fluidly rendered, comprised of widely textured marks of flat colour in a constrained palette of bold reds and interspersed with black - colours which Gervais would often return to. However, the clear divisions of colour are uneasy, and there is a softening of boundaries. Dominating the left of the image, a large void seems to disrupt the relative ease of the red ground by shooting across the frame. Scattered and diffuse, the turbulent disruption causes reds and blacks to push against each other in a splash of motion. There is no cold geometry here; only lyric sensation and brash energy, among the best of post-automatiste painting.