Throughout his childhood, Claude Millette was captivated by the sculptures he encountered on his childhood school excursions to galleries. This early exposure to sculptural works influenced the direction of Millette’s artistic career, which began with his studies at the École de Sculpture in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. During his studies, the contemporary sculpture movement in Quebec was expanding, and Milllette was fascinated by this departure from the traditional manner of three-dimensional expression. Sculptors were presented with new opportunities to display their work in high-traffic areas, such as parks or libraries, and this concept of public exposure inspired Millette. After completing his studies, Millete moved to Saint-Hyacithne, where he calls home to this day.
In 1977, Claude Millette met Arman Vaillancourt, who inspired Millette and influenced his creative growth. Stylistically, this influence resulted in a shift in Millette’s preferred medium: while his work remained largely non-figurative, he began to work with metal rather than wood.
Through scale and verticality, Millette’s work reinforces its communal purpose in public settings. He continually focuses on the materials he works with and their physical properties. Through experimentation, Millette has chosen steel as his preferred material, as it allows him to both challenge and reveal strength and resistance: by repeated perforation and burnishing of metals, he could produce patterning.
Another crucial facet of Millette’s work is the expression of movement and interaction. As an artist, Millete strives to represent the relationship between oppositional forces searching for balance. For example, in 1990, Millette began to create multi- component sculptures, which were equally focused on the negative space between the fragments as the modules themselves.
An additional significant development in Millette’s creative process was his use of dynamite: he began to base his compositions on the chance creations left over from the exploded metal. While his exploration of materials has been ever-evolving, Millette’s work continues to focus on the connection between viewer and sculpture.