Sylvia Tait is an established Canadian abstract painter and printmaker. She studied a the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts School of Art and Design from 1949-53, and has since exhibited across Canada, Mexico, and Ecuador.
Influenced by Abstract Expressionism and classical music (Arioso meaning airy and often referring to an operatic solo), this nonrepresentational piece is exemplary of her growth and use of complex layered colours.
In ART AND ARCHITECTURE IN CANADA Loren Lerner and Mary F. Williamson describe Tait's work as "visual image-like poetry, using colour instead of words" and we couldn't agree more.
This piece is an artists proof and was made to check the quality of prints during the silkscreening process. It was originally a gift from the artist to dear friends in Montreal in the 1970’s. Subsequently it was passed down a generation and then acquired by us.
In the 1960s, she bought a printing press with her friend, Betty Goodwin, who would become one of Canada’s leading printmakers, and produced many prints.
Tait’s stylized drawings had a modernist sensibility, and by the mid-1960s she had moved fully to abstraction. In the exhibition catalogue, co-curator Robin Laurence describes this new work as a “suggestion of biomorphic surrealism married to abstract expressionism, energetic and sometimes unsettling.”
An untitled 1964 acrylic on paper is an early example of the mixture of organic forms with more geometric blocking – squares of colour painted next to each other that Tait refers to as “ladders.” These blocking devices appear in many of her paintings to this day.
Dimensions: 38" H x 24" W