On a ground of sapphire blue, organic shapes of dark blue, indigo, forest green, violet,with a crafted focal point of orange and white move dynamically. The artist uses a thinned medium that soaks into and fuses with the canvas. This piece is a celebration of light and colour in the Arafura Sea that lies west of the Pacific Ocean between Australia and New Guinea.
Fournier is considered part of a group of third-generation non-figurative painters who worked in Toronto during the 1960s. His peers included Milly Ristvedt, K.M. Graham, David Bolduc and others exploring techniques and forms of post-painterly abstraction. Fournier began studies in 1959 at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He soon became known for his use of bright fauvist colours for which he was dubbed an "exotic modernist" by New York art critic Donald Kuspit. Fauvism was a post-impressionist movement in France characterized by the "wild' use of colour.
Fournier has had major solo exhibitions in Toronto, Guelph, Hamilton, Edmonton, Houston and Washington, D.C. His work was selected by critic Andrew Hudson for 14 Canadians: A Critic's Choice at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and by Boston Museum of Fine Arts curator Kenworth Moffett for inclusion in The new Generation: A Curator's Choice at the Andre Emmerich Gallery in New York.
In 1996, Fournier received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University. His paintings and graphics have been exhibited throughout Canada, the United States and Europe and are included in most major public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Tate Museum, as well as in private collections in the United States, South America and Europe.
"...Paul Fournier’s canvases seemed typical of his generation of Toronto painters. Like his colleagues K. M. Graham, Daniel Solomon, Paul Hunter and David Bolduc, Fournier demonstrated an almost Fauvist sense of color and an ability to be both playful and lyrical in the same picture. Like them, too, he clearly admired Matisse and Jack Bush. Yet Fournier’s pictures were and have remained stubbornly personal, in a challenging territory of his own, a narrow zone between reference and invention." Karen Wilkin, Canadian Art, 1991.