St. Croix Rider, 1997
acrylic polymer emulsion on board
26.5 x 106.8 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from Dr. R.T. Ross and from The Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation Inc.
© A.C. Fine Art Inc.
A stationary pale rider on a black horse gazes out over a hill and into a valley. The apparent simplicity and quietude of this scene is deceptive and belies both darker and richer readings. For the Nova Scotia painter Alex Colville, isolation is the profound condition that defines human experience and is a recurring theme in his work. An inescapable sense of isolation is expressed by the mood of stalking, cinematic voyeurism struck in St. Croix Rider. The composition is also deceptively complex. In preparatory drawings for the piece, Colville applied the golden mean, a logarithmic formula used by artists and architects since antiquity to achieve aesthetic harmony in the arrangement and proportioning of forms. The mathematical order that underpins this work assists in evoking a sense of static and foreboding silence.