1967 - 1972

From the late 1960s onwards, Ribeiro - in yet another direction - began a new series of paintings. These were hard-edged geometrical abstractions, with repeated enamel-like shapes deliberately placed to create a harmonious pattern. Utilising his oil and PVA mixes, multiple planes appear to ascend off a flat ground, as in the Yantric Shift series.

He explained these works would not have existed were it not for the ‘evolving form of Tantra’ (traditional practice/ritual from Hinduism/Buddhism) which:

“...has led the conscious mind through stages to a point of total acquiescence and negation of the Self¦ directed at the two senses, sight and sound. Yantras (visual; diagrammatic, involving form and colour). Mantras (sound; repetitive, tonal and syllabic).”

Ribeiro on Tantra, 1971

Ribeiro's Tantric paintings at the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, 2018
Ribeiro on Tantric influencs in his work, 1971

He had secured much-needed exposure in the US with these paintings which were sent for exhibition in solo shows at the Deson-Zaks Gallery, Chicago (1970), and the Triangle Gallery, San Francisco (1971). However, en-route, “all of the work got stuck at a Greyhound Warehouse in Salt Lake City... while they tried to locate where they were”. With the near two-week delay, the Chicago show was off.

In New York with his brother Souza and their cousin Joy, 1970

Problems of his unclaimed and unsold ‘Chicago paintings’ would continue to plague him. A long-standing friend, Jack Goldfarb, appealed to the gallery 30 years later to trace the work but hit a brick wall, commenting:

“I felt how could people be so cold-blooded about an artist's work, something someone had spent so much time and effort on... it came to a dead end and he lost those paintings.”

Jack Goldfarb (friend) on Ribeiro's ‘Chicago paintings’.