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all of these component forms seem to be endowed with a type of energy
and dynamic movement that distinguish Riopelle from his French an-
cestor, while the contradictory perspectives, from afar and from within,
destabilize the space of the canvas to make it at once objective and sub-
jective, an effect Riopelle often creates. The painter, like the poet for
Giguère, can be described as 'un sismographe qui enregistre les trem-
blements d'être, il va de soi qu'il est sensible non seulement à ses petits
mouvements intérieurs mais aussi aux grands glissements extérieurs'
('À propos,' 167; a seismograph recording human quakes, it goes with-
out saying that it's sensitive not only to minor interior tremors but also
to major exterior shifts). Yet here, rather than bear witness to the violent
seismic eruptions of earthquakes, we sense the constructive forces that
transform rather than destroy nature; as Jacques Lassaigne puts it,
'from this volcano emerge materials that are meticulously selected, col-
ours whose burning power does nothing to diminish their purity,
magical stones.' 34
Riopelle's vision lies somewhere between the 'cosmic' of Borduas and
the 'microcosmic' of Pellan, and may well, in this case, be called 'cosmo-
logical' according to Yves Michaud, in that Riopelle's art embodies
'metamorphoses of form … transformations of matter.' 35 And, as with his
predecessors, the general term describing his vision also applies to the
artist's approach to paint and painting, making it auto-representational
if not representational. For Riopelle, painting is less studied than for
Pellan (or Cézanne), and less 'sporadic' than for Borduas, but rather
more 'gestural,' hence the dynamic movements and lines of force within
the mosaic pattern. As Michel Waldberg puts it, 'Nature was conceived
not as a spectacle, but as a principle of creation. Things were seen, not
in the illusion of their fixedness, but in their perpetual engenderment'
(51). For Riopelle, a painting, like a mountain, is also formed by the colli-
sion of masses, the building up of smaller forms, and the flow of creative
energy surging through the Vulcan's forge of the artist's consciousness to
take solid form on the surface of the canvas: here a majestic, imposing,
vital structure representing the grandeur and force of nature, as well as
of the artist himself. As Michael Greenwood contends, 'The work itself
is a “living” organism, identified by its own internal logic, structure,
substance and energy' (66).
It is perhaps significant, given the materiality of the mountain, that in
the sixties Riopelle also turned to sculpture, to working with solid
masses, 'to discover or create forms,' stating that: 'my painting influ-
ences my sculpture and my sculpture influences my painting.' 36 Unlike
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