An architect by training, Richard Lin is known for his rendering of spatial composition ideals from modern architecture onto canvases; his development of the "relief painting" concept breaks through the two-dimensional space of the frame and affords his works a multidimensional experience, making his artistic language one of a kind in the history of art.
Squares 7 1968-1969 is a classic work from Lin's mature period. Atop the square white canvas, Lin used oil paints and aluminium blocks to erect multiple squares of varying shapes, carefully arranging, stacking, and layering them to realise an extraordinarily refined geometric arrangement. Upon close inspection, one notices that each square on the canvas exists on its own plane, and the spatiality of every level is clear and palpable. Lin's transcendence of two-dimensional space on the canvas reminds one of the works from another minimalist artist from the 20th century – Lucio Fontana. While both artists "sculpt on the canvas", they did so in diametrically-opposed ways: Fontana shattered the limits of the flat surface by cutting open the canvas to reveal the depth underneath, while Lin chose to build upwards and delicately build layers on top of the canvas to give his works physicality and rich spatial relationships. Like Fontana's works, Lin's paintings go beyond the traditional canvas surface and expanded the possibility of the art form, and in doing so he created a visual and tactile multi-sensory experience on his canvases.
The colour white is another defining trait of Lin's creations. In his eyes, white is an all-encompassing colour, and within it one finds the meeting point between the Eastern philosophy of "one is everything" and the modern Western art concept of "less is more". Consequently, as he approached maturity in his creative career, white became Lin's ultimate subject: he finely dissected the spectrum of white to explore the colour's infinite possibilities. In Squares 7 1968-1969, the white canvas forms a nuanced link with the white squares on the lower-right corner, and the multiple types of white also give rise to fascinating harmonies and dichotomies among them and the other colours in the work.
Squares 7 1968-1969 had been with the same collector for half a century since it was purchased from Marlborough Fine Art in London. Its perfect representation of Lin's philosophy and breakthrough, as well as his inspirational command over the colour white, makes it an unmissable classic.