The Collinasca Cycle, 1992
12 colour woodblock prints on wove japan paper
Printed by François Lafranca
200 x 82 cm each (approx.)
National Gallery of Canada (no. 37104.1-12)
David Rabinowitch is known mainly as a sculptor, although he also makes drawings and prints. While his work is largely abstract, it is never restricted simply to the language of colour, form, and materials. Rabinowitch explores both the independent nature of art and its links with other disciplines - philosophy, the sciences, and mathematics. "The Collinasca Cycle" is based on a highly structured plan for a potentially very large cycle of prints. Two systems, one determining the colours printed and the other prescribing the forms of the repeated geometric motifs, are superimposed. The artist leaves his plan open, however, in order to admit the intuitive and the experiential aspects of artmaking; the work is not restricted to being a product of pure reason. The interesting balances, repetitions, and weights he gives to the circular figures in "The Collinasca Cycle", for example, are not predetermined. One critic has described Rabinowitch as refusing "to yield completely to any concept of system or conventional unity". The artist himself has compared his cycle to the periodic table developed by the chemist Dmitri Mendeleev (1834-1907), which represented an early attempt to describe schematically the molecular structure of matter. Rabinowitch notes that while the relations in Mendeleev's periodic table describe experience, the relations within his work result in experience.