Jacques Palumbo

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Oeuvres / Le Génératif / Aquagrammes


Critics on Air / CBC/ Radio Vancouver
Jacques Palumbo
at The Burnaby Art Gallery


GWEN CREECH


Préface du catalogue de l’exposition personnelle à la Burnaby Art Gallery en Colombie Britanique


Feelings of ignorance and inadequacy in the face of all the complexities engendred in modern science and technology, are commonly expressed by people whose lives are more intimately concerned with arts and letters. The techniques, the jargon, and indeed the basic purpose of the computer world more often than not escape those if us untrained and un skillewd in those disciplines.

Artists may use the new technology in creating electronic music, for example, or in exploring different sculptural materials, but the transfer is in terms of products only, with new thought processes and concepts remaining outside of the artistic experience. It was interesting, then, to see how Jacques Palumbo, a young native Algerian, now a Canadian citizen living in Montreal, explores the use of computer printout techniques, and combines geometry with coulour to create his own artistic systems. Palumbo is doing more than merely applying the achievements of technology to art; he is extending the creative idea by means of a synthesis witn techological thinking.

The largest group in the exhibition is a series of what Palumbo calls Aquagrams, and defined by the artist as works in which the paper absorbs a given volume of watercolour. Each presents a pattern of blue and white horizontal stripes of different widths, intensities and lengths, varied from one to another according to a specific programme carefully worked out by the artist. The colour is very fragile, and the overall first impression is of a somewhat weak and repetitive exercise. On closer inspection, however, one discovers the complexity of each construction, some of which are more satisfying than others in terms of how that complexity is conveyed to the viewer.

A small group of serigraphs formed fron hundred of fine angulars lines intersecting to create new geometric forms are visually more exciting than the aquagrams. The tonal contrast and crowded, exploding images create a tension and energy which involve the viewer in an active emotional exchange.

The use of mathematics to achieve equilibrium and create structure in art goes back, of course, through the ages to the Golden Mean and beyond. But Jacques Palumbo, by investigating the new technology to discover pivots and balances, volume and weight equivalencies, is taking the process one step further. It is not yet mature work, but rather a stage in development out of which may come some quiet unique results.

April-May 1976





































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