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Curated horizontal bars of blue, maroon, cherry red, pink, lemon yellow, burnt orange and green communicate on a soaked sand colored ground of this diptych by Milly Ristvedt. The rhythm of the spaces between the short lengths of color creates a dialogue of movement that leads the eye upwards through the large picture plane. The title of the work Phoenix refers to classical Greek mythology, the bird that when it dies rises again from its ashes. "This is also one of the rare paintings that I saw clearly in a dream and painted almost exactly as I saw it. It relates back to the four-panel work, "Lock-Up" (1972), done a couple of months earlier, where I used the physical break between panels as an edge to anchor some colour bars. In Phoenix some bars are anchored while others float within the larger ground colour." This painting was included in the exhibition catalogue Milly Ristvedt-Handerek: Paintings of a Decade (1979). Ristvedt, RCA, began her career in Toronto in 1964 after studies with Takao Tanabe at the Vancouver School of Art. In Toronto, during the 1960s and 1970s, she was making and exhibiting large scale paintings alongside a small but defined group of non-figurative painters who, like Ristvedt, had planted roots in modernism. Of Ristvedt and her work in this period, Barry Lord wrote exuberantly in Three Young Canadians for Art In America (1969): "...More insistent than Bush, more consciously structured than Molinari." These roots continue to run deep for Ristvedt who completed her MA in Art History at Queen's University in 2011 with a thesis that explored color in the grid of contemporary painting. Ristvedt's paintings are part of private and public collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Vancouver Art Gallery. She has had over 50 solo exhibitions and numerous group show. She is represented by the Oeno Gallery. A book about her career, Milly Ristvedt: Colour and Meaning, An Incomplete Palette was published in 2017.
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