Claude Tousignant

Accelerateur chromatique #5, August 1968, 1968

Acrylic on Canvas
36 in

Ex. Collection:
Gallery Moos Ltd. Toronto.
Private Collection, Ottawa.

Claude Tousignant has made measurable contributions to abstract painting since his earliest works of the 1950s. Now in his eighties, Tousignant’s legacy has enhanced understandings of colour reception to illuminate optical colour interaction and the elegiac beauty of large fields of colour for the eye’s enjoyment and study. Commencing in the 1960s, his use of the circle marked a crucial moment wherein he saw the possibilities of creating unique optical experiences. It was Tousignant’s circular transformers, gong and accelerator paintings of the mid-1960s which amplified his engagement in the optical effects of colour interaction through experimentation with concentric rings of colour. Tousignant’s practice is a wide-ranging experience of colour and colours, and shape and shapes, revealing much about the power of the visual experience. His view is so seemingly simple in painterly rendering yet so infinitely complex to the human eye and its ability to process what is reality and what is illusion.

Accelerateur chromatique #5 belongs to Claude Tousignant's third and most recognized series of circular works, "Chromatic Accelerators" (1967-69), in which he deployed various sequences of colour in even, concentric bands. As the viewer engages with these works over time, the rhythmic, chromatic juxtapositions generate a pulsating, optical experience, fulfilling Tousignant's goal to produce an object of pure sensation. Tousignant was intrigued by the circle as a structural form that has uniform peripheral tensions in which he could deploy colour in serial placement.
-Art Gallery of Hamilton, National Gallery of Canada.