Photographic book

Three-dimensional work of art


Roland Poulin
Roland Poulin

Another art form that evolved from conceptualism is installation art—the transformation of an exhibition space into a three-dimensional work of art. Reflecting an expanded definition of sculpture, installation art in its various interpretations became another dominant art form in Canada in the late 20th century. Artists such as Roland Poulin and Michel Goulet in Montréal assembled manufactured materials to create new abstract objects. Goulet, for example, juxtaposed groups of chairs, suitcases, antennas, and other objects in unusual ways to suggest new “narratives.” Other installation artists, including Murray Favro and Kim Adams in Ontario, reconstruct machines and other forms of technology in life-size as a personal interpretation of the industrialized world. Favro, for example, recreated in elegantly finished wood a receding length of railway track and installed it on a bed of gravel.

Still other installation artists construct new environments that refer to architecture, as seen in the work of Melvin Charney, Mowry Baden, Irene Whittome, Ronald Brener, and Renée van Halm.

Charney constructs his installations next to buildings, whereas Baden changes the viewer’s perception of interior spaces through his installation pieces. Whittome wraps objects in cloth and string, suggesting the findings at an archaeological site. Installations by Betty Goodwin and Bill Vazan in Montréal and Judith Schwartz in Toronto changed the architecture of a private building (by inserting walls or reworking wall surfaces) or rearranged the materials in city parks.

Many other installation artists have used household objects, such as furniture, clothing, and appliances, to create environments that alter preconceived notions of domestic life. Numerous artists have also incorporated video and slide projections with traditional and unusual materials to reinforce the intrinsic nature of installation work as a multimedia art form.

Language as Art


Text and language play an important role in Canadian art today, both in individual artworks and within multipart installations. Montréal artist Barbara Steinman inscribes phrases on objects that she has selected or constructed, and Rober Racine, also of Montréal, creates installations of books on which he writes new texts. Both artists suggest that words have multiple meanings, depending on the time and place in which the words are used. Many of the artists who work today with photographs or film also project texts onto images to widen the meaning of their visual stories. Similarly, the inclusion of words or statements in painting and sculpture offers the audience new ways to interpret the artists’ intentions. "Canada" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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