Canadian-born American sculptor and painter. Born in Vancouver, he studied at Vancouver School of Art and California School of Fine Arts. In the 1950s he worked as an Abstract Expressionist painter but he turned to three-dimensional work in bolted plywood or metal. Pieces such as Three Elements (1965, fabricated 1966–7, North Carolina Museum of Art), which consists of three aluminium blocks at angles to the ground, are early instances of Minimal art. However, there is no relationship between Bladen's intentions and the more militantly prosaic ideology of certain Minimalists. He was far closer to the ideal of the Abstract Sublime, saying that he was looking for ‘that area of excitement belonging to natural phenomena such as a gigantic wave before it makes its fall, or man-made phenomena such as a the high bridge spanning two different points’.