Molinari’s series of Dyads from 1969 are the culmination of the long ground-breaking sequence of paintings with vertical stripes of equal width that he had begun in the early 1960s. Dyade Jaune is simply constructed of two equally wide bands of colour, one green-gray, the other yellow, repeated once to add up to four simple bands.
The Dyad paintings seem a long ways from Untitled, 1954 (ill. 00) and are, in contrast to the earlier painting’s brashness, stately and serene. But Dyade Jaune is also a culminating realization of the problem that Molinari had set forth fifteen years earlier of how to strip painting of spatial illusion, and how to push space out from behind the picture surface and to project it into the real lived-in space of the actively engaged viewer.
In the Stripe Paintings Molinari found his definitive resolution. By keeping the bands all the same width, the surface flat and opaque, the edges razor sharp, and the colours repeated in predictable series, he did away with any residue of subjectivity and internal pictorial events. As a consequence so little now happened inside the paintings that the main event became the energy of colour and its rhythmic interactions continually performing in the eye and nerve endings of the beholder. A painting in effect has become a perceptual environment in constant action.
Through the later 1960s the Stripe Paintings increasingly calmed and simplified themselves. The stripes became fewer and wider, their colour mass increasing and their rhythmic relations slowing. The structure of Dyade Jaune is quickly known, but the dynamics between its four parts unpredictably mutates as we shift the focus of our attention.
Roald Nasgaard, O.C.
Chief curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario from 1978 to 1993