Square No. 3, 1978
acrylic on canvas, on painted wooden mount
76 x 76 x 2.4 cm; mount: 85.2 x 85.2 cm
Gift of Myron Laskin, Santa Monica, California, 1987
National Gallery of Canada (no. 29856)
Working from the centre to the boundaries of the square, Houle created this work by methodically painting four parallel hatch lines, repeatedly, until the entire square space was filled. During this process, his thoughts were on the quillwork of his Anishnaabe ancestors, the parallel painted lines of eighteenth-century Innu coats, and the parallel indentations on ancient Iroquoian pottery, as much as they were on the cross-hatching techniques employed by the American Pop / Abstract Expressionist Jasper Johns, and Piet Mondrian's grid painting "Composition No. 12 with Blue" (NGC), which Houle had viewed upon moving to Ottawa in 1977.