Considered one of Canada’s most influential contemporary artists, Guido Molinari has made significant contributions to the advancement of non-figurative painting. As a painter, artist, art critic and theoretician, he participated in the debate surrounding the fundamental issues of abstraction, and during the 1950s, drew the premise for a demanding reflection on the specificity of pictorial space. His discovery of Jackson Pollock’s paintings, the writings of Piet Mondrian, and the Automatiste revolution had a major impact on the development of his practice. In 1955, he made his first trip to New York, and that same year, founded the Galerie L’Actuelle in Montréal with Fernande Saint-Marin, which was devoted entirely to the presentation of non-figurative art. Molinari was also director of exhibitions at the restaurant L’Échourie during the launch of the Manifeste des Plasticiens, as part of their inaugural exhibition. In the spirit of this manifesto, his early works paid careful attention to pictorial components as structural elements. His practice would nonetheless distance itself that of the first Plasticiens, eventually gaining a certain lyrical dimension through its radical nature and a rigorous quest for purity that would characterize the evolution of his work. Equally inspired by Kasimir Malevich, Vassily Kandinsky, and Barnett Newman, Molinari strived to create a pictorial space that is essentially defined by the role of colour.

Portait of Guido Molinari.
Guido Molinari, 1988 © Richard-Max Tremblay • Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay