B2 + w Ps 1989–90

Yves Gaucher, B2 + w Ps, 1989–90

Yves Gaucher, B2 + w Ps, 1989–90 
Acrylic on canvas, 122 x 488 cm 
Installation at Galerie René Blouin, Montreal 


B2 + w Ps is one of Gaucher’s Pale Paintings, a series that he began to produce around 1989–90 after completing the Dark Paintings. Gaucher’s production process follows a certain pattern, each series or stage beginning with something like symmetry or some analyzable order, then edging toward increased asymmetry, and then with utter confidence testing the waters of near randomness.


Art Canada Institute, Yves Gaucher, Reds & Ps, 1992
Yves Gaucher, Reds & Ps, 1992, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 760 cm, installation at Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City.

After the relative seductiveness of the Dark Paintings, a Pale Painting like B2 + w Ps, created in 1989–90, sets out coolly to add up an impossible sequence of colours: a narrow band of greenish cream abuts a wide expanse of pale purplish blue that in turn bumps into an icy pistachio, which in a slight but dramatic diagonal meets a final conclusive white. The result appears to be on the one hand a hard-won struggle, and on other, an irrevocable harmony. It is also as if the space of the Pale Paintings emanates toward us, in what we can perhaps call an aura of light, to achieve an uninterrupted flow across precipitous edges and through discordant chromas and values, finally to attain gracefully, if paradoxically, an impossible reconciliation and repose.

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