Oil on canvas
1180 x 870mm
From 1962 to 1964, Mrkusich worked on a series of paintings called Emblems, of which this is an example. He introduced circles, squares, isolated lines, and parallelograms over freely brushed areas. The works were very different from the ‘action’ paintings that had occupied him during the previous two years (Deep Blue is a late example). They had involved expressionistic gestural rhythms, in which geometrical rigour was sometimes suggested but never defined.
Mrkusich now introduced a greater degree of calculation into his work via the positioning of hard geometric and linear elements. It has been suggested that he was aware of the work of American painter Jack Tworkov, who at the same time explored the opposition between intellectual calculation and gestural techniques.
In 1963, he moved into symmetrical formats and began to make extensive use of the squared circle or mandala, a symbol of wholeness. His concern was the achievement of harmony between diverse elemental forces. In this brightly coloured work, he has set aside the predominantly dark colours of the series to produce a glowingly radiant work, the title of which makes explicit reference to the painting’s elemental and colouristic intentions.