Roland Poulin

National Gallery of Canada

From the Minimal, cast-cement enclosures in the ’70s and early ’80s such as Quadrature, 1978, and Void Form, 1980, to the symbolic, polychromed wood sculptures such as Thresholds, 1993, and Before Us, the Night, 1992–93, Roland Poulin seems to do nothing but rework the same formal issues. This 15-year retrospective of Poulin’s sculptures and related drawings revealed an artist who recycles Minimalism only to arrive at the obvious symbolism afforded by sarcophagi, tombs, and crosses. Poulin’s works are most interesting when considered in terms of their social context and their attempt to wrestle with both the psychological and material aspects of the work of art.

Inspired by Paul-Emile Borduas’ automatist canvas Black Star, 1957, Poulin decided to pursue a career as an artist and soon began to create Minimalist works out of industrial materials such as plywood, cardboard, wire, and cement.

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