The Canadian Art Database

Ruth Auersberg

Yves Gaucher
Galerie Agnes Lefort, Montreal [1963]

Canadian Art #88, Nov./Dec. 1963.
[ 388 words ]

Yves Gaucher's prints at the Galerie Agnes Lefort showed a private rebellion against the restrictions and taboos of conventional printmaking. Gaucher is not alone in his rebellion, but the existence of other experimentation does not diminish his significance.

At 30, Yves Gaucher is a veteran participant in international exhibitions from Paris to New York to Vienna, and the recipient of numerous prizes. However the June exhibition at the Galerie Agnes Lefort was Gaucher's first one-man show and represented the results of four years of intense experimentation. The exhibition showed imagination in having some of the plates displayed along with the prints. This revealed that Gaucher has done away with the conventional rectangular plate and instead is cutting his shapes from the metal. For a single print, Gaucher often uses such varied techniques as relief and intaglio engraving, embossing, and martellage or overlaying with acrylic paste. Under these demands inking poses a far greater problem. The prints showed, however, that Gaucher, who grinds most of his pigments and mixes his own inks, solves it admirably.

Some of the earlier prints have strong tactile appeal, and show Gaucher as a fastidious disciplinarian, while they reveal his spiritual approach. In others the artist seems to be obsessed with a crude free shape, which looks much like a water-washed stone liberated from gravity. This shape reappears in various treatments and is usually done in greens and greys, sometimes with an earthen accent. The whole series strikes one as an exercise in restraint. However, in his next series Gaucher comes up with flamboyant patterns in inks that are vibrant and subtle at the same time.

His latest prints indicate that Gaucher has entered another cycle. He now abstains from colour-inking and limits himself to greys and the effect of black and white. For added strength, Gaucher has always laminated his papers. Now he is beginning to laminate papers of various weights and colours to use as a calculated element of composition, which might well become the main feature of the artist's next experiment. Two of Gaucher's large multi-coloured prints, Aji and Sa were recently purchased by The National Gallery of Canada and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Canadian Art #88, Nov./Dec. 1963.

Text: © Ruth Auersberg. All rights reserved.

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