Tension on Black, 1963
oil on canvas
object: 101.4 x 81.1 x 2 cm
Gift of René Picard, Ottawa, 1997
National Gallery of Canada (no. 39296)
© Rita Letendre
Coming to public attention in Montreal in the early 1950s through her association with Paul-Émile Borduas and the Automatistes, Rita Letendre developed a unique artistic vision, drawing on her interest in Zen teachings, her French and Abenaki heritage, and an intuitive exploration of the gestural application of paint. The interpenetration of the surrounding visceral red and black mass evokes a wound, the turbulent colour creating tension and suggesting brooding violence. "Tension on Black" is characteristic of Letendre's production of this period. Her approach has evolved over the years to explore Hard-Edge abstraction, but her dominant themes of light and energy have remained constant.