First Circle, 1963
acrylic on canvas
162.7 x 172.3 x 3.5 cm
Gift of the artist, Montreal, 1995
National Gallery of Canada (no. 38186)
© Claude Tousignant
In the period just prior to painting "First Circle", the structure of Claude Tousignant's works usually comprised a large rectangular form on the canvas. This posed a problem whereby the dynamic between negative and positive space imposed a figure/ground relationship. In "First Circle", with its vibrant colour contrast, the artist begins to explore the potential of a circle to diffuse the visual push/pull evenly across the surface plane. The surrounding rectangular space is further activated by the darker blue band at the left. Two years later, in 1965, Tousignant made a logical shift in employing circular shaped canvases in his series "Transformateurs chromatiques".