After attending the Museum of Modern Art travelling exhibition 'Two decades of American painting' in 1966–67 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney artist John Peart decided to 'clear the decks' and pursue a reductive brand of abstraction between 1967–68. Peart's paintings from this period are distinguished by their cool monochromatic colours and modular, semi-sculptural stretchers.
At the time, Peart was concerned with 'the notion of the painted object' as well as the spatial and optical possibilities of the square picture plane. These concerns were brought to the fore in 'Cool corner II', which cemented Peart's reputation as one of the leading abstractionists of his generation when it was first shown in 'The field' exhibition in 1968. In reference to the focalising effect of its jutting triangular corners and shifting shades of light blue, curator John Stringer deemed 'Cool corner II' to be 'hypnotic'.
Corner square diagonal [titled in 'The field' exhibition catalogue]
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
236.2 x 236.2 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of the artist 1968
© Estate of John Peart
Shown in 6 exhibitions
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 21 Aug 1968–28 Sep 1968
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 30 Oct 1968–24 Nov 1968
Recent paintings: John Peart (1969), Watters Gallery, East Sydney, 19 Nov 1969–06 Dec 1969
John Peart: paintings 1964-2004, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown, 17 Mar 2006–07 May 2006
Australian abstraction 1965-1985: from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 09 Dec 2006–25 Jan 2007
Australian Collection Focus: Tackling THE FIELD, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Sep 2009–29 Nov 2009
Less is more: Minimal and Post-Minimal art in Australia, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 03 Aug 2012–04 Nov 2012
Referenced in 7 publications
Christopher Allen, The Weekend Australian, 'Hard work: A new show reminds us of the limitations of colour-field abstraction', pg. 12-13, Canberra, 17 Oct 2009-18 Oct 2009, 13. Focus room ‘Tackling the field’ exhibition review.
Gary Catalano, Recent paintings: John Peart, Sydney, 1969. cat.no. 3
Sue Cramer, Less is more: minimal + post-minimal art in Australia, 'Part II: the sixties generation', pg. 29-46, Bulleen, 2012, 43, 44, 48 (colour illus.), 114.
Elwyn Lynn, Royston Harpur and Patrick McCaughey, The field, Melbourne, 1968, 57 (colour illus.). cat.no. 53; incorrect caption for 'Corner square diagonal'
Renée Porter, John Peart: paintings 1964-2004, 'Introduction', pg. 9-12, Campbelltown, 2004, 9, 29, 30 (colour illus.), 74.
John Stringer, Material perfection: minimal art and its aftermath: selected from the Kerry Stokes collection, Perth, 1998, 26.
Natalie Wilson, Tackling THE FIELD, 'Tackling The Field', pg. 1-29, Sydney, 2009, 7, 8, 10, 19 (colour illus.), 20.