I studied art after working in the fields of law, academia, and diplomacy. A native of Quebec City, I lived in Montreal, Berlin, Toronto, Moscow, and Michigan, in the United States. Since 2008, I live in the Pontiac, not far from Ottawa.
From 1984 to 1986, I worked as a Canadian diplomat in Moscow. Russia was then part of the USSR.
It was a turning point in my life. It brought me back to art.
After completing my tour of duty in Moscow, I resigned from the public service. I enrolled in the Fine Arts program at the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD) in Toronto. I graduated with honors in 1991. Since then, I have been working as an independent artist.
In the articles I shall regularly publish on my blog, I invite you to learn more about the evolution of my professional career and about how my work reflects my experience.
I studied art after working in the fields of law, academia, and diplomacy. A native of Quebec City, I lived in Montreal, Berlin, Toronto, Michigan and Moscow in the USSR. In Moscow, as a member of the diplomatic service of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I served as a political officer. In 1986, I resigned from the public service and returned to Toronto. I enrolled in the Fine Arts program at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) and graduated with honors in 1991. I now live in Luskville, Quebec, and I work as an independent artist.
By 1989, upon entering art school, I already had a considerable portfolio of artworks. In fact, I had thought of becoming an artist when I was in my teens. But back then, I was not sure I had enough inspiration, and I was encouraged to choose a more lucrative profession. By the time I turned 30, my life had changed substantially. I had acquired life experience in multiple fields through my travels, my studies, and my life as a diplomat and as a bureaucrat. I had developed a much more acute sensitivity to my environment. Devoting myself to art was now a choice I could confidently make, returning to the aspirations of my youth. I was ready to make that choice. I had a lot to say. But I needed to learn the language of art.
The Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto was widely renowned for the quality of its Fine Arts program and for me, it was an obvious choice. I enrolled in 1989, at a time when there was a lot of emphasis on traditional studio instruction. In addition to the regular curriculum, I pursued independent studies under the close supervision of renowned artists with expertise on specific aspects of the practice of fine arts: colour theory, composition, advanced drawing techniques, to name a few.
This excellent training gave me what I needed to achieve what I had always wished to achieve: the creation of plausible expressionistic worlds imbued with coherence, structure and harmony. I could now productively work from carefully crafted compositions where each element is deliberate. I now knew how to maximize the use of colours using the resources of the color wheel.
As I stated in a documentary produced by Radio Canada in 1996 my mission, from the very beginning, was to create works of art that are accessible to everyone. I am still faithful to this mission. The titles of my drawings and paintings are part of the artwork and are meant as clues to their meaning. Each work is conceived to convey a message. Humorous, critical or puzzling. How one interprets the message is very personal. But the coherence, structure and discipline are there. Nothing is left to chance. Everything works in harmony. All the paintings are stories, and they all mean something.
I publish articles in my blog regularly, on a wide variety of subjects: why did I choose to turn to art, what do I paint and how, where do I stand as an artist, what is the meaning of a particular painting? How did I build my career, why do I still use traditional techniques? Advice, tips, critiques. You are welcome to read my blogs and to comment. This dialogue is important to me. It keeps my work alive and relevant.
Denyse Goulet’s artwork is very original and reflects a truly unique approach to perception and painting. With immense talent, she creates compositions made of numerous figures, representing scenes of everyday life. However, her art owes nothing to strict realism: her sense of perspective and of the fluid interplay of shadows, lights and colors engage the viewer. One feels a range of emotions among which humor often emerges. Denyse’s work is fine art at its best.
Emeritus Photographer, Gatineau, Quebec
Since 2014, as emeritus photographer with an expertise in art photography, I document Denyse Goulet’s artwork. I also have also adapted images of her work taken before digital technology. Thus, I get to know Denyse’s work in fine details. When I work in Denyse’s studio, I am amazed by the subtlety of her work and the depth of her artistic vision. Denyse’s creations are full of life and color and oftentimes rich in humor. It is a real feast for the eyes and the soul. Nothing leaves me indifferent.
During the final painful decade of Soviet communism, Denyse Goulet lived and worked in Moscow, a young Western diplomat. Her images of sinister and soulless power relations among strongmen, and of their victims, place her among those painters, like Gerhard Richter and Luc Tuymans, who have confronted that all-too-recent past with striking visualizations of human brutality and alienation. Yet in Goulet’s work, marked by an often-exuberant palette and fanciful composition, there is an element of humor – even bordering on farce – that transcends the darkness – the eye invited, as it were, to soar above the grey oppressing and oppressed figures into something like a Tiepolo sky. But the liberation thus promised is aesthetic not political.
Howard and Judith Sandys
We have long appreciated and enjoyed Denyse’s vision and her artistic talent. As a visual artist she is able to translate her feelings about many aspects of our contemporary life onto her images. Denyse ‘s approach to subjects like women’s place in various workplaces, her opinion on male executives and her outlook on some current institutions comes through clearly in her paintings. Denyse has the unique ability to often combine a keen and sometimes satirical outlook with tremendous artistic talent.
I love Denyse’s art for reasons both visual and narrative. She uses color, movement, and unusual perspective to generate great energy, and she approaches politically important themes with what I can only call serious humor.
I never tire of living with her work — whatever its medium and scale.
Collector, Toronto, JC Holdings Inc.
As owner of the ULTRA GALLERY in downtown Toronto, I was the first to show Denyse’s artwork in 1991. I have been collecting her work ever since and it is part of my décor wherever I live. Her work never loses its novelty and freshness, and I keep discovering its depth every day. It is a great feature of my life, and I am proud to have been promoting her art for many years.
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