Beyond Representation

Some of the features on this page require that JavaScript be enabled.
view previous artwork view next artwork
2 Blues
Regina Five, colour, colour theory, form, shape, colour palette, interplay of colour,perceptions of nature, perception, nature, commission, psychical world, colour interactions, colour theory, form, canvas, grouping forms, artist's palette, formal and informal balance, Regina Five, painting composition, planning a painting, preconsidered painting, attunement, colour choice,
description
start quoteThe technical areas which interest me most are dynamic colour-form relationships.end quote
-- Douglas Morton

Of all the artists in the Regina Five, Morton was the most concerned with colour and colour theory.  He once said, “The technical areas which interest me most are dynamic colour-form relationships.”  On his large canvases he explored colour interactions by placing flat colours side by side on a variety of simple, smooth interlocking shapes. His colour choices were often bold and vivid. While he used a variety of colours, red, blue and magenta were often prominent on his palette.  His works display a sense of movement and vitality resulting from the  interplayMutual action or influence; interaction; as, the interplay of affection. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of the  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  and the  formIn its widest sense, total structure; a synthesis of all the visible aspects of that structure and of the manner in which they are united to create its distinctive character. The form of a work is what enables us to perceive it. Form also refers to an element of art that is three-dimensional (height, width, and depth) and encloses volume. For example, a triangle, which is two-dimensional, is a shape, but a pyramid, which is three-dimensional, is a form. Cubes, spheres, ovoids, pyramids, cone, and cylinders are examples of various forms. Also, all of the elements of a work of art independent of their meaning. Formal elements are primary features which are not a matter of semantic significance — including colour, dimensions, line, mass, medium, scale, shape, space, texture, value; and the principles of design under which they are placed — including balance, contrast, dominance, harmony, movement, proportion, proximity, rhythm, similarity, unity, and variety. (Artlex.com)  on the canvas.

Writer Katie Fitzrandolph takes an interesting approach to Morton’s work: “Forms and colours have personalities, as people do,” she says, “and he describes his paintings as conversational groupings of forms, all interacting with each other to produce the  balancePrinciple of design dealing with the arrangement of the visual elements in an art work to produce harmony of design and proportion.  and  compositionArrangements of elements in a work of art.  of the painting.“  (Fitzrandolph, 1966)

In his own words, Morton states, “…My paintings are pre-considered but not formally planned…they are influenced by the natural environment … essentially intuitive, they reflect sub-conscious attitudes. I paint for the satisfaction that is achieved with the realization of an exciting idea.

Curator Nicholas Tuele suggests that Morton’s works “… are not intended as weighty cerebral or profoundly spiritual reflections.  Rather, as we encounter painting after painting made by Morton throughout his career we share in his attunement to the psychical world and his perception of the joyous elements of nature.”  (Tuele, 1994)

Morton was the first local artist to have a major exhibition at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, in 1963. A large Douglas Morton  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  was  commissionedA contract between an artist and an individual. The artist agrees to create an image or design for the individual for a predetermined price.  for the entrance to the Central Library in Regina, and it can be viewed there.

additional resources Interview with Timothy Long - The Regina Five
Duration: 2:30 min
Size: 11440kb
Things to Think About

Totem poles

Advanced Activity

Doug Morton was  commissionedA contract between an artist and an individual. The artist agrees to create an image or design for the individual for a predetermined price.  to create a  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  for the entrance of Regina’s Public Central Library . Look for public artworks in your community and determine the  functionRefers to the intended use or purpose of an object. The term is often applied to manufactured products, particularly crafts, and when discussing designs for architecture. Though sometimes said to be non-functional, art is expected to function in various ways, including: to beautify, to adorn, to express, to illustrate, to mediate, to persuade, to record, to redefine reality, to redefine art, to provide therapy, to give unselfconscious experience, to provide paradigms of order and/or chaos, and to train perception of reality. Anything that is not functional is called nonfunctional. Often the decorative qualities of a thing are considered nonfunctional. (Artlex.com)  the artworks serve. (e.g. war memorial, murals, etc.)

Artwork should be enhanced by the environment in which it is placed and the artwork in turn should improve its immediate surroundings. What  mediaAny material and technique used to produce a work of art (paint, glass, clay, fibre, video, sound, etc.). It may also refer to the liquid with which powdered pigments are mixed to make paint. Note that the plural form of “medium” is “media.”  and styles of art would you select for each of the following buildings in your community: (Give reasons for your choices).

  • your home
  • school
  • a shopping mall
  • a park
  • a hospital

Discuss the scenarios and possible characters that could be created if the shapes in Morton’s paintings were animated.

Online Activity
Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.

Design three “hard-edged” abstractions in each of three boxes provided on the screen using a  varietyPrinciple of design concerned with difference or contrasts.  of pre-selected shapes and colours.  To do this:

Studio Activity
  • kitchen containers
  • mustard dispensers
  • sticks
  • sponges
  • saran wrap
  • found materials
References

Bloore, Ron.  Isn’t this a beautiful Colour?  Exhibition catalogue.  Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, 1994.

Chabun, Will.  ‘Artist Doug Morton Dies.’  Regina Leader Post, January 8, 2004.

Chaput, John.  ‘’The Best’ of the Regina Five.’  Globe and Mail, March 13 2004.

Fitzrandolph, Katie.  ‘Morton Paintings Shown at Library.’  Regina Leader Post, February 1966.

Murray, Joan.  ‘Talking to Doug Morton at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.’  September 9, 1977.

Tuele, Nicholas.  Doug Morton RCA, Artist.  Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, 1994.

Withrow, William.   ContemporaryCurrent, belonging to the same period of time. Usually referring to our present time, but can refer to being current with any specified time. (Artlex.com)  Canadian Painting.  Toronto: McLelland and Stewart Ltd., 1972.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning