Resiste: Sylvain Bouthillette

For more than twenty years, Bouthillette has developed a diverse body of work that includes drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, sound pieces and printmaking. The artist has become well-known in Canada for how his work draws upon a vast array of artistic, musical and spiritual influences, including Joseph Beuys, Bruce Nauman, King Tubby, Fela Kuti and the Buddhist monk and writer, Chogyam Trungpa, to press forward an intense aesthetic agenda for spiritual revolution and liberation from the suffering inherent in dualistic thinking.

Bouthillette: “The work in the show is about wrathful compassion that seeks to destroy every obstacle, neurosis and fear on the path of self-awareness and self-development.” In that regard the artist has often looked to the meditational deity Manjushri. He is depicted as a male bodhisattva wielding a flaming sword in his right hand, representing the realization of transcendent wisdom which cuts down ignorance and duality. The scripture supported by the lotus held in his left hand is a Prajñāpāramitā sūtra, representing his attainment of ultimate realization from the blossoming of wisdom. Mañjuśrī is often depicted as riding on a blue lion, or sitting on the skin of a lion. This represents the use of wisdom to tame the mind, which is compared to riding or subduing a ferocious lion.

Sylvain Bouthillette was born in Montreal in 1963 and graduated from (and has taught at) Concordia University. His work has been widely exhibited in Canada and collected institutionally, corporately and privately.