Spectramatic Geometry
April 28 – June 9, 2011
Main Gallery | Centre for the Arts | W600


Spectramatic Geometry

April 28 – June 9, 2011
Main Gallery
Curator: Jane Edmundson

Opening reception: 4-6 pm April 28, 2011

Works from the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery

What I wish to do is make painting objective, to bring it back to its source – where only painting remains, emptied of all extraneous matter – to the point at which painting is pure sensation…to say as much as possible with as few elements as possible.
-Claude Tousignant

I bought me an illusion
And I put it on the wall
I let it fill my head with dreams
And I had to have them all
-Axl Rose

The human eye interprets information from visible light to build a representation of the surrounding world. Our eyes include a lens, similar to that of a camera: the pupil and iris work together as the aperture, dilating and constricting in accordance to the amount of light refracting through the cornea. The information taken from this light is then sent through the photoreceptor cells of the retina, which contain protein molecules called opsins. Rod opsins are found primarily in the periphery of the retina and translate low levels of light and contrast. Cone opsins are present in the center of the retina, and read different wavelengths of bright light to distinguish colours. Due to a high concentration of cone opsins, the human eye can recognize over 10,000,000 colours. The retina’s perception of light is then sent along the optic nerve to be interpreted by the visual cortex of the brain.

As visual media, painting and printmaking manipulate our visual perception through colour, form and composition. The artists selected for Spectramatic Geometry have strategically chosen hues and shapes to create the illusion of depth and movement across flat, static planes of canvas and paper. The viewer is enveloped in an abstracted environment that is crafted by the artist, and then transformed inside the natural technology of the human eye and brain. To this end, Claude Tousignant, Eric Cameron, Gene Davis and Marko Spalatin employ hard edge abstraction, which causes some shapes to advance while others appear to recede. Rita Letendre’s planes of colour move away from the viewer, retreating into the infinite space beyond the edge of the canvas. York Wilson’s alternating parallel lines present the illusion of depth in a looser, more painterly style, while Mary Shannon Will and Gordon Smith utilize the precision of Pointillism to create artworks that shimmer and vibrate. Ron Martin’s watercolour studies utilize colour theory principles while recalling the fluidity of Surrealist automatic painting. With this combination of artworks, the gallery space is transformed into an optical playground where geometric illusion pushes and pulls the viewer between the reality of the objects and the inner mechanics of the eye.

Jane Edmundson