OTTO DONALD ROGERS, R.C.A.
MONUMENT OF PRAYER, 1983
acrylic on canvas
signed and dated ‘83 on the reverse
60 ins x 72 ins; 152.4 cms x 182.9 cms
Rich sienna brown gently folds itself across the image, fading into a parchment-coloured background. Black bisects the canvas, interrupted by a thin slash of blue. Greys, greens, and terracotta fragments peek out along the periphery of the canvas. Whereas his early career explored traditions of landscape and figuration, Rogers is better known for his later and continuing experiments in abstraction. Often, this is given a specifically spiritual edge. Monument of Prayer is a standout example of this. Slow, rhythmic variations of tone imply hidden meditative structures, while subtle gradations of texture - spidery gestures, thin fuzzy lines, soft misty indistinctness - reveal a withdrawn and dynamic undercurrent. Order, however, does not just arise from a combination of elements. Rather, it is the process of painting that brings about a work that can be read as reverential - the act of assemblage becoming one of ecstatic creation. Rogers’ own beliefs, rooted in his Baha’i faith, are interjected into a practice that demonstrates a physical world that is a reflection of spiritual transcendence.
Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto / Calgary
Estate of Alison Hymas, Toronto, ON