Threads of Meaning: Richard Boulet

The autobiographical impulse has long been an accepted convention of artistic practice. So it is not surprising that the quilts, fibre sculptures and works on paper by Edmonton-based artist, Richard Boulet, draw on his personal experience. What is unusual, though, is the life on which he draws. Diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in 1995, Boulet has been in and out of hospitals and mental health group homes, has been homeless, and has had debilitating bouts of paranoia and depression. During one bout he imagined himself as a vampire.

In “Stitched and Drawn,” a touring exhibition organized by the Illingworth Kerr Gallery in Calgary and curated by Wayne Baerwaldt, Boulet tells the visual story of this mental illness with an utterly convincing degree of intensity and beauty. The works in the exhibition, mostly large quilts with cross-stitched texts, express a gamut of emotions from rage to revelry and, in the process, make the case for art’s ability to function as a form of therapy…

Pick up a copy of Issue 111 to read the entire review!