The Technological Avant-Garde in the Work of Claude Roussel
The Visual Arts Department at the Université de Moncton was founded by Claude Roussel in 1963 when he was an artist in residence at the university. Roussel was a sculpture professor from 1963 until his retirement in 1993. This department, initially headed by Roussel, contributed and continues to contribute to the growth of visual arts in Moncton and Acadie. Claude Roussel was one of the first to firmly believe in a blossoming artistic community in Acadie.
In addition to his involvement as a professor, he ceaselessly continued his own artistic practice, where experimentation with materials was central. He is known in particular for his work in moulded plastic and in cast resin, and for his canvas reliefs. His explorations of commercial manufacturing processes were also incorporated into his teaching and helped to expand the variety of techniques covered in the visual arts curriculum.
Claude Roussel in front of one of his molded plastic artworks (1977). Photo : GALRC archives
La valse de Marilyn
Mathieu Boucher Côté’s work extends Claude Roussel’s ideas by echoing the advanced technologies of the day (the 1970s), which the latter was using. Boucher Côté employs a present-day technology to create a piece of sculpture: a laser cutter and software which generates parametric scripts (Grasshopper and Rhinoceros 3D). His artwork makes reference primarily to Roussel’s geometric and colourful works, such as Hommage à Duchamp et Marilyn (1975) and La valse des chromosomes (1976). It is this body of work that determined the colours of the Plexiglas pieces and the fluid forms that perforate them.
These elements have been installed on a solid wooden pedestal, a subtle reference to the foundation of Roussel’s practice, carving directly in wood. The relation between the base and the work’s avant-garde elements is also intended to denote a connection between the two artists: on the one hand, we perceive in it Roussel’s artistic trajectory, and on the other we see in it an encounter between the two worlds of Boucher Côté, architecture and the visual arts.
Computer modeling software used by the artist.
Although the technologies used are specialized [...], Boucher Côté’s artwork makes it possible to conceive their creative potential within other artistic disciplines.
Although the technologies used are specialized and demand a certain degree of knowledge to be understood, Boucher Côté’s artwork makes it possible to conceive their creative potential within other artistic disciplines. Finally, there is a continuity between the predecessor and his successor since Boucher Côté works more with the third dimension than Roussel did in the works cited.
The artist would like to thank Claude Roussel and Julien Lebargy for their contributions to the project.
La valse de Marilyn, 2018, feuilles d’acrylique découpées et gravées au laser sur socle en bois d’épinette
Mathieu Boucher Côté
Trained as an architect, Mathieu Boucher Côté creates projects that are as much architectural in nature as they are a form of visual art. The relationship between humans and the environment is, however, at the heart of these two disciplines. Côté is concerned primarily with the evolution and architectural or artistic application of construction materials and techniques. Fundamentally interdisciplinary, his approach uses both computer-assisted and analogue methods alike, as well as the encounter between these production methods.
Mathieu Boucher Côté was born in Quebec City and holds a Masters in Architecture from Université Laval and a Master of Science degree on innovation in wood-frame construction. He has also taken courses in sculpture at Université Laval and at the Maison des métiers d’art in Quebec City.