Throughout the late 1950s and early 60s, Ellsworth Kelly worked with shapes and solid colors deployed flatly across single canvases. Finding inspiration in both nature and art, he was drawn to the oddity of forms and the various conditions that create visual interest in unlikely ways. In this spirit, Green Blue Red abstains from the balance and harmony of traditional painting and reflects an impulse to build a surface of visual tension out of the contrasts of color and shape and the containment of an edge. Kelly’s works of this period depict the jarring difference between colors and the unusual placement of shapes, energizing the visual experience and creating a disorienting optical effect. The green rectangle and blue oval are vibrant and foreign against the red background. Kelly does not construct balance or resolve; he creates compositions that are alive in their idiosyncrasies.
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