Jean-Benoit Pouliot

Artist statement

The work of Jean-Benoit Pouliot centres on formal issues linked to composition and image reading in painting. His abstract works are seen as superimposed networks or plans that evoke complex and subtle push-pull effects. Thin, accumulated layers of paint suggest depth and generate immaterial spaces that seem to stretch beyond the physical limits of the frame. Each picture plane is divided according to different rhythms the artist punctuates by geometric and organic forms.

Pouliot avoids predefining his paintings through sketches or plans, favouring instead a progressive approach that allows time to step back between each intervention. During the same work period, he develops several paintings simultaneously, thereby establishing a dialogue between pieces that are barely begun and others that are near completion. In this way, the interruptions he provokes become determining compositional factors in the constructive process of the works. The artist suspends the paintings in a provisional state, opening their potential not only for action in the present time, but also for external pictorial influences. Ultimately, this approach tends to make the artist’s studio time visible on the surface of the canvas, and feeds the notion of flow that links each of his finished and in-progress paintings within a temporal continuum, allowing for potential positive influences.

These exploratory practices produce a certain eclecticism within Jean-Benoit Pouliot’s work. But this variety is based on an implacable logic that resists systems or working in series that would divide or contain his work within fixed periods. Rather, the artist invites the viewer to consider the uniqueness of each painting as the basis of a perceptual experience that unfolds separately from the idea of a finished body of work, set in time. The consistency in Pouliot’s work is not found through the serial development of a particular theme, but rather, in the broadest sense of the artist’s methodology, which over the past fifteen years has explored concepts of rhythm, transparency, superimposition, linear networks and accidents through painting, performance, printmaking or photography.


Jean-Benoit Pouliot (b. 1975) is a self-taught artist who began his career in the early 2000s through the medium of printmaking. Between 2004 and 2008, he was part of the performance duo L’œil de verre which used light as a raw material in partnerships with different actors of the music scene. Painting gained a central place in his practice in 2008, and since then, Pouliot has participated in several solo and group exhibitions in Québec and in New York. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions including Galerie Hugues Charbonneau (2014 and 2012), Galerie d’art d’Outremont (2011) and Cirque du Soleil head offices (2006). Pouliot has also participated in the public art happening Aires libres in Montréal (2014), the Extreme Painting event in Montréal (2013 and 2010), as well as the Multi Month 10 in Québec City (2009).

His works are in numerous private and institutional collections, such as the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Loto-Québec, National Bank, Bank of Montreal, TD Bank, Mouvement Desjardins, and the collection of the Cirque du Soleil, among others. Jean-Benoit Pouliot is represented by Galerie Hugues Charbonneau in Montréal. The artist lives and works in Montréal.