It can be argued that colour is one of the most important elements in a work of art. There are so many different aspects to colour (the hue, intensity, value, shape), the way that it can be applied to the canvas (rolled, painted, splashed, stained, swiped, dripped, pulled) and the theory behind how different colours relate to each other. Colour is emotional. Colour is expressive. Colour can be simple or complex. Through the paintings of Jonathan Forrest, William Perehudoff and Hans Wendt we explore these many variations of colour.
Jonathan Forrest, a survivor of the Modernist school, applies thin layers of transparent colours to his canvas. When the colours combine, they create radiant, light-filled paintings. Colours recede and approach, fold, weave and shift depending on their precise placement and optical combinations.
William Perehudoff, a mentor to Jonathan Forrest, is closely associated with the colour-field movement of painting. As Karen Wilken states in the exhibition catalogue “An Optimism of Colour”: William Perehudoff created “bold, economical abstraction that explores the expressive power of large expanses of radiant colour and simplified shapes”. Perehudoff understood balance, scale, form and composition. As he is known to have stated, he prefers paintings “with a kind of pulse”.
Hans Wendt, a PEI artist known for his large-scale virtuoso watercolour paintings, makes paintings about painting. His carefully composed watercolours are of cut paint samples given to art students as examples of what colours should look like when mixed. Wendt honours the history of large minimalist painters, but makes it a new and joyful meditation on paint and the importance of colour and composition. Added to the challenge of painting such sophisticated works is the difficult and sometimes unforgiving medium of watercolour.