OTTO DONALD ROGERS, R.C.A.
COOL SPRING RAIN
acrylic on canvas
signed and dated ‘88 on the reverse
20 ins x 60 ins; 50.8 cms x 152.4 cms
Otto Rogers (b.1935) has made substantial contributions to abstracted landscape painting in Canada. Like many western Canadian artists such as Jack Shadbolt, Takao Tanabe, Don Jarvis, Doug Haynes, Gordon Smith and Ted Godwin, Rogers’ early work reflected an interest in the aesthetic of late automatic surrealism. Many including Rogers did not seem comfortable creating paintings that were exclusively pure abstract inventions. Rogers preferred instead to look out upon the world, synthesize and abstract from a model drawn from nature.
For Rogers, growing up on the prairies, the most evident visual splendour was the interaction between big sky country and the patterns, colours and variations to be seen in the prairie farmlands. Cool Spring Rain is such a painting. Ostensibly it is an abstract composition, yet its distinct horizon line, light-filled bluish sky, vestige clouds, attenuated horizontal format and floating celestial orbs locate it as an abstracted prairie scene. Certain forms suggest trees along the horizon, a grain elevator and rural buildings.
Even the faithless will often marvel at the majesty of the vastness of prairie vistas in relation to our tiny place within its grandeur and scale. We experience being ‘grounded’ beholding the weather swings and sudden changes in light conditions. For Rogers, this would become even more profoundly personal and spiritual. He became a senior member of the Bahá'í Faith; his beliefs took him to Haifa, Israel where he served for ten years as an elder. He has since returned to Canada and has taken up residence in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto/Calgary
Private Collection, Toronto