Vancouver Art in the Sixties
One of the artists most dedicated to the psychedelic movement was Gary Lee-Nova. As Philip Leider observed, Lee-Nova's paintings owed much to LA's artist of militarized psychedelic biker ethos, Billy Al Bengston.

Gary Lee-Nova, Psychedelic Lollipop, c.1966-67

Importantly, Leider took care to note that Lee-Nova had only seen Bengston's work in reproduction, thus hadn't experienced their most critical aspect, the "burnished, lacquered surfaces, which were among the first post-abstract expressionist paintings to consciously attend the elimination of all effects of atmospheric, illusionistic space."29

Gary Lee-Nova, Dreadnaught, 1966

Lee-Nova's works were openly and polemically psychedelic. His 1967 spray-painted galvanized iron with neon sculpture, Hash Cannon with 14 Joints, was a hallucinatory abstract sculpture, certainly a parody of both the modernism of Caro and the Minimalism of Judd and Flavin. Lee-Nova's restlessness with painting was apparent, and by 1966 his attention was already more occupied by film, collaboration and environment. He also promoted the work of the American expatriate Jack Wise, who had studied mandala painting with Tibetan artists in India. His miniature, calligraphic worlds within worlds owed something to Mark Tobey, whom Wise had met. But they were more given over to literal renditions of psychedelic cosmology, itself based partly in Tibetan Buddhism. Wise's drawing for the 1966 Trips Festival is typical of his psychedelic Op style--the intricate organic patterning was meant to induce a retinal overload. Lee-Nova had also been involved with Sam Perry, whose films Lee-Nova's are said to resemble (Perry's are lost). The young Judy Williams was influenced by Wise and also practiced an exquisite psychedelic calligraphy that mingled figuration and script often organized as a mandala.

Judy Williams, The Moss is Dreaming, 1966

Paintings like Payne's Grey - A Horoscope (1965) and The Moss Are Dreaming (1966) were executed while on LSD. Gordon Payne (for whom Payne's Grey was painted) experimented with psychedelic, calligraphic mandalas in the mid-1960s, as in his rapturously coloured One (1965). There is a relationship between these cosmogenic compositions and the concrete poetry calligraphy, exemplified by the work of bill bissett, Judy Copithorne and Carole Itter.

bill bissett, balloon dream, 1964

From the vantage point of some forty-five years on, one can also see that the calligraphic tangle has also some relation to the much more ordered patterns of Fisher, Kiyooka and Balzar. Both are allegories of communication circuitry networks and the possibilities of activating the sensorium.

Michael Morris returned from his studies at the Slade in 1965, bringing with him the gouaches . . .