OTTO DONALD ROGERS, R.C.A.
BALANCE AND FIRST RAYS OF LIGHT, 1983
acrylic on canvas
signed and dated on the reverse
48 ins x 48 ins; 121.9 cms x 121.9 cms
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Painter and sculptor Otto Donald Rogers is one of Canada’s foremost contemporary practitioners of Color Field and cubist-constructivism. Extensive use of darker palette sets him apart from other Canadian abstract painters of the time, and levy a sense of meditation and gravity to his works. Well known for his spiritualist approach to abstraction, earlier work retained a connection with landscape traditions. In Balance and First Rays of Light, we can see how his use of light and colour creates an interior unity within the canvas. This scene retains a legibility rooted in the natural world: a heavy grey sky meets a softer sand-coloured field, while thin triangular lozenges on the edges, perhaps slopes of land, frame the suggestion of a coast or haze of horizon. A lone green scrap of a figure commands attention at the center of the image, while at the lower edge of the canvas reveals a discarded, half-buried grey shape with a thin suggestion of a shadow; the scene is rooted in a feeling of ruined, discarded stillness. A diagonal bisection of the lower half of the work seems to suggest some dynamism occurring out of frame: entrance of the first rays of a grey dawn, perhaps, or the still-soaked shadow of a retreating tide. Rogers demonstrates the commanding and refined use of composition and tone that demonstrates his continued prominence in Canadian abstraction.
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