Newzones is pleased to announce Decades, a solo exhibition from the late Canadian colour field abstract painter William Perehudoff (1918 – 2013).
William Perehudoff is markedly one of the most celebrated Canadian colour field painters of his generation due to an acclaimed career that spanned over six decades.
Perehudoff was born in a small town in rural Saskatchewan where, as a young boy, he embraced the wildly unique natural world around him. Karen Wilkin credits Perehudoff’s explicit knowledge of colour relationships to the Saskatchewan landscape, where bold, lively skies, potent yellow canola fields and other farmlands lend themselves instinctively to an abstract composition. While the playful spirit of the light from his surroundings cultivated itself in Perehudoff’s skilled hand, his work is comfortably situated in pure abstraction, holding its own against contemporaries such as Jack Bush, Clement Greenberg, and Donald Judd; there is no question to the strength of William Perehudoff’s practice.
As a profound Canadian abstract painter, Perehudoff set a national precedence for contemporary artwork. His work has given rise to generations of artists working in the field of formalist abstraction and colour field painting. Spanning over six decades, his career as an artist was an homage to hard work and the desire of continued learning through hegemony instilled from peers and colleagues, as well as the insight of learning through learning, or the act of self-education.
Perehudoff’s formalist paintings derived from the inquisition of his own inner need; a visceral, emotional, substantiated line of curiosity presented to awaken, evoke, and imply rather than to represent. Through the mature use of structured imbalances within his compositions, Perehudoff contemplated the implications of painting as a material, beyond the medium, in order to break down the preconceived structures set in place from generations before.
Perehudoff’s work is an ideal example of formalist, abstract painting. His artwork deliberately flows against representative elements and assertively turns toward an unknowable construction in order to regard the viewers inner inquisition. Perehudoff’s artwork is not about a complex system of concepts intended for decipherable interpretation, it presents connections which exist entirely in their own right. His artwork is the interplay of light, colour, shape and form, his artwork is a vast truth, in a world where replication provides false accounts. Perehudoff boldly sways against this grain and created loudly sublime artworks that are both exuberant, and meditative.
William Perehudoff was born in Saskatchewan in 1918 and began his career in the early 1940s. From 1948-1949, he studied with French artist Jean Chariot at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, and from 1949-1950, with Amédée Ozenfant at the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts in New York. In 1994, he was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, followed by the prestigious Order of Canada in 1998. In 2003 he received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Regina, and in 2012 he was bestowed the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. As a result of his success, a traveling retrospective was organized in 2010 by the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (now Remai Modern), curated by esteemed New York art critic Karen Wilkin. “The Optimism of Colour: William Perehudoff, a retrospective” opened at Mendel Art Gallery in October 2010. It travelled to Kamloops Art Gallery, BC and Glenbow Museum, Calgary in 2011 and in 2012 it was on view at Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario and Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario.