Artwork by Jack Hamilton Bush,  Quarter Moon

Jack Bush
Quarter Moon

gouache on paper
signed and dated 1975 lower right; signed and inscribed “Jack Bush – Toronto”, titled and dated June 1975 on the reverse
29 x 21 ins ( 73.7 x 53.3 cms )

Sold for $41,400.00
Sale date: May 28th 2015

Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York
Evelyn Amis Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Iris Nowell, “Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art”, Vancouver/Toronto, 2010, page 37
Marc Mayer, “Jack Bush: A Double Life”, “Jack Bush”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 2014, page 128
Roald Nasgaard, “Abstract Painting in Canada”, Vancouver/Halifax, 2007, page 124
Jack Bush was certainly a dominant force in the early 1970s, having received significant critical reception with multiple exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe. In 1972, he was selected for the opening show of the new contemporary department of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Curator of the exhibition, Kenworth Moffett, notes that the show “establishes Bush as one of our best living painters... He is an artist of real distinction and Boston has scored a coup in mounting the first important U.S. museum show of his work.”

Bush's steady success continued through the mid-70s at which time he was painting complexly coloured pictures on mottled grounds. These grounds, which the artist had returned to in 1969, were now rolled on and then sponged with partially mixed paint. Marc Mayer writes how these prepared grounds “became a textured, granite-like surface upon which he deployed colour.” Mayer furthers that this action “restored space to the roster of pictorial element in his work...[Upon] this ground he coordinated the calligraphic figures that survive his prolonged adventure in the realm of flatness.” The figure/ground connection is wonderfully explored in “Quarter Moon”, a work which underscores Bush's mature style. Here, the chromatic central figure is magnificently drawn with colour.

Indeed, colour holds a playful part in “Quarter Moon”, articulating and energizing Bush's signature “flattened silhouette”. Nasgaard describes how “Bush's figures insist on abstractness even when we know their imagistic sources, as if literary meaning had literally been flattened out of them...” We recognize the shape as a quarter moon, however, it is no longer the “moon” which we are familiar with: the concave side of the figure is a cleaner contour while the convex side reveals feathery, rougher edges. The palette is bold and eccentric, affirming Bush's mastery of colour.

“Quarter Moon” will be included in the forthcoming “Jack Bush Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonné”.

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Jack Hamilton Bush
(1909 - 1977) Painters Eleven, OSA, ARCA