Double Matrix on Blue

Acrylic on canvas
58 x 116 inches
Now on view: AC Hotel, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Service in the United States Army during World War II interrupted Brooklyn native Oli Sihvonen’s art education. At war’s end, he enrolled at Black Mountain College where, from 1946 to 1948, the aspiring painter studied under the school’s director, Josef Albers. Albers’s progressive philosophies on color theory and perception provided a durable and detectable foundation for Sihvonen’s emerging modernism. After leaving North Carolina, Sihvonen settled in Taos, New Mexico, and began to execute hard-edge, large-scale abstract works. His well-known Ellipse series, represented by Double Matrix on Blue, dates to the 1960s. In geometry, an ellipse is a conic section, or the intersection of a two-dimensional plane and three-dimensional cone. By placing an ellipse within a rectangle, Sihvonen disrupts perception and accentuates the malleability of color. He also gestures to Albers in creating a chromatic environment where the brilliance of the colors produces a startling afterimage on the retina.

Other works by this artist