Roselit Day grew out of Irene Rice Pereira's three-dimensional paintings created in the 1930s and '40s. The artist believed that light was a dimension in space, rather than just a reflection on a surface, and in the earlier works she had overlaid panes of glass or parchment so that the light flowed through the assembled work, blending colors as it went. Here, the network of sharply drawn lines and transparent planes advancing and receding in space echoes this earlier technique. Pereira wanted her abstract paintings not only to give visible form to the latest discoveries in physics, biochemistry, and other sciences, but also to convey the mystical effects of light and color. Rosy pinks and reds suggest the hues of a stained-glass window and, in fact, Pereira's efforts to understand the workings of the universe eventually led her to Catholicism in the 1960s.
Copied I. Rice Pereira, Roselit Day, 1953, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Leslie Bokor, 1973.190
Luce Object Quote". . . it is only an incident that light defines objects, but the flow of light from out of the depth of the painting, that is the thing that makes a synthesis between inner and outer reality." The artist, quoted in Seckler, "Pereira paints a picture," Art News, September 1952