(b Vancouver, 13 July 1918; d New York, 3 Feb 1988).
Canadian sculptor and painter. He studied at the Vancouver School of Art and at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. While living in San Francisco in the 1950s, he produced paintings related to the Abstract Expressionism of Clyfford Still, using mythic and pictographic forms (e.g. Untitled, c. 19569; New York, Met.). In the early 1960s he turned to sculpture, abandoning the subjectivity of his previous work in favour of large, simple structures, such as Three Elements (painted aluminium, 1965; New York, MOMA), that demanded to be appreciated in formal terms alone, without explanation, interpretation or evaluation. Nevertheless, the anthropomorphic qualities seen by some critics in his massive solid forms separated his sculpture from the more geometric forms of Minimalism practised by sculptors such as Tony Smith, Donald Judd or Sol LeWitt. In the mid-1980s Bladen again created visual drama by reflecting light from aluminium sheets attached to skeletal wood constructions.
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