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  • Writer's pictureDavid Eichholtz

Marge Rector: Hard Edge and Color Abstractions from 1970 to 1997

Marge Rector dedicated her career that spanned six decades to nonobjective abstract painting. She explored many approaches, including optical and illusory compositions in black and white initially, then a migration to color along with different compositions that ranged from geometric shapes, curvilinear forms and lines to purely color based abstractions evolving out of blotching, ragging, staining and pouring color onto canvas supports. 

The following selections range from 1970 to 1997 and show Rector’s canvas-filling compositions with her unique investigations into Hard-Edge shapes including what she referred to as her “Complicated” and "Free Flow” series. The paintings below primarily focus on the artist’s interest in curvilinear shapes and forms using lines. They are optical in that they play with illusory depth and challenge visual perception.  David Richard Gallery represents the estate of Marge Rector, a talented artist originally from Texas who spent most of her career in her studio on the coast of Northern California. While she had gallery representation early on and museum exhibitions, Rector was under the radar after the late 1970s. Hence the interest in bringing her to the attention of collectors, critics and museums. 

Marge Rector Abstract 9 1991 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 51”

This is the most unique series executed by Rector. Often referred to by her as a diptych, but not in the conventional sense of two paintings side-by-side. Instead, it is comprised of 2 stretched canvases situated about an inch apart from one another front-to-back. The surface of the top canvas, viewed below, is strategically and surgically cut by the artist based solely on the composition to reveal the interior of the space between the two canvases and the panted surface of the second canvas behind it. The cut surfaces were painted to seal the cuts and prevent any unraveling of the support. The cast shadows are easily seen and make the canvas very active as it changes as the light changes or if in natural light, as the sun shifts in intensity and moves from morning to night. The cut openings also imparts a literal depth as well as an illusory effect. 

Marge Rector Abstract VI 1997 Acrylic on canvas 50 x 50”

Marge Rector Abstract 9 1970 Acrylic on canvas 56 x 48”

Marge Rector Abstract 11 1973 Acrylic on canvas 43 x 43”

Marge Rector Abstract 1 1994 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 48”

All Artworks Copyright © Rector 1990 Trust About Marge Rector: Rector dedicated her fifty-year career to painting non-objective abstractions. Trained as a commercial artist, she received her BA degree from Texas Technological College (currently, Texas Tech) in 1950 and worked professionally in that field until 1964. At that time, Rector decided to pursue a career in fine art and studied at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Emerging from her studies about the time of the Op Art movement and that seminal exhibition, The Responsive Eye, presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965 and organized by William C. Seitz, Rector could not help but be influenced by the hard-edge structures, dizzying lines, geometric forms and high key and high contrast colors that created optical and illusory effects challenging visual perception. She exhibited in 1970 at the Butler Institute of American Art Annual Show in Youngstown, Ohio and regularly in solo and group exhibitions with Atelier Chapman Kelly in Dallas until she moved to Sausalito in 1973 where she has lived and worked ever since. While in Sausalito, her painting practice expanded to explore new mediums, shapes, compositions and palettes, but always staying focused on non-objective abstraction. 

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