Orange Yellow C 1982

Orange Yellow C

Gershon Iskowitz, Orange Yellow C, 1982

Oil on canvas, diptych, 127 x 228 cm
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston

Art Canada Institute, Gershon Iskowitz, Parry Sound Variation XIV, 1965
Gershon Iskowitz, Parry Sound Variation XIV, 1965, watercolour on wove paper, 48.1 x 63.2 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

In Orange Yellow C, vertical strands of purple, green, and blue float on a bright orange-yellow background speckled with blips of the same colours. In 1981 Iskowitz began to create paintings with vivid overall colours, rather than the pairings of expressive and lighter pigments he had done in previous works. He emphasized lively strands, such as those that first appeared in the Parry Sound works of the mid-1960s—for example, Parry Sound Variation XIV, 1965—and then continued in the Uplands triptych, 1969–70. Offering a strong example of Iskowitz’s return to these earlier compositions, Orange Yellow C also shares the same centre-line diptych disruption as Summer G, 1978. The 1982 painting, however, is less disjunctive because of the painterly harmony between the blips and the strands, and their balanced distribution across the two canvases.


As in earlier works, the lengths could be floating on top of the orange-yellow ground or appearing through the ground (as with the “leaves” in Autumn Landscape #2, 1967). They have no determined direction (as with the red forms of Summer G), up or down or across, and none of them terminates at the bottom edge of the painting; two terminate at the top edge, one at the far-right edge, and two “collide” in the centre line. Viewers can imagine they are looking up or down through clouds, though the whole composition is an abstraction rather than a reference to observed nature.

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