Joe Fafard R.C.A.


bronze, ed. 6 of 7
40x33x17 in.

Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton;
Private collection

“Does a work become more powerful with an increase in size? Less intimate? Is a sculpture sensed with different part of our body depending on its size?” Joe Fafard asked this critical question of himself in 2002, in his notes on the work Valentina. “It seems so,” he concluded, “ The small objects are more private less shared with other. There is a “close to the face” feeling, a handheld sensation somewhat like the private silent reading of a book. It feels precious and isolated…”1 

The preciousness and intimacy of Joe Fafard’s smaller works allows us to take them into our spaces in a way that the large works, especially the scale works, do not. These small edition bronzes create that sense of intimacy instantly upon encountering them. With their character, their swagger, and their playfully manipulated forms, Fafard allows us not only to bring them closer to our faces, but to see them as we might see their larger compatriots, foreshortened by distance and with a playful and quirky field of view. Their lifelike essence and the fact that they are presented to us with the clear stamp of Fafard’s aesthetic adds to their undeniable presence.

Joseph Fafard, sculptor (b at Ste-Marthe-Rocanville, Sask 2 Sept 1942). Joe Fafard attended the University of Manitoba (BFA 1966) and Pennsylvania State University (MFA 1968). He began his career making kinetic sculpture, but soon after his appointment at the University of Saskatchewan in 1968 he turned to satirical plaster portraits…