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The Optimism of Colour: William Perehudoff, a retrospective

January 14, 2012 - April 1, 2012

AWE Gallery

For six decades, the work of the Saskatchewan painter William Perehudoff has embodied the highest standards of aesthetic seriousness and excellence. Long admired by his peers in the Saskatoon arts community, and an important influence on younger Prairie artists, Perehudoff has exhibited internationally, as well as across Canada. Since the 1960s, he has explored, in his mature abstractions, ideas about how colour relationships can wordlessly convey emotion and meaning — ideas that have preoccupied many of his most ambitious colleagues, anywhere. Since Perehudoff’s formation was largely international and some of the leading international figures of his generation were among his friends, this is not surprising, yet he has always remained profoundly attached to his native landscape, with its vast space and long horizons. The generous geometry, openness, and luminous hues of Perehudoff’s mature abstractions are distilled from his experience of the land. The space, light, colour, and enormous skies of the Canadian Prairie inform Perehudoff’s paintings, from first to last, yet his deep response to place is combined with his firm belief in the universal quality of abstract forms and their ability to communicate widely. The result? Rigorously abstract images of surpassing beauty and intensity.

Perehudoff turned 92 in 2010. This exhibition, the most comprehensive survey of his work to date, traces both the single-mindedness and variety of his long evolution, stressing continuities and acknowledging his refusal to settle for known solutions. What is most important, this retrospective celebrates the achievement of this distinguished artist by allowing his ravishing, distinctive paintings to speak for themselves.

The Mendel has developed a dedicated website for this exhibition:

Organized and circulated by the Mendel Art Gallery

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