Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Joe Fafard’s world featured at the National Gallery of Canada.

Ottawa - January 30, 2008

Discover the peerless vision, talent, and ingenuity of one of one of the most famous and best-loved Canadian contemporary artists

Ottawa, January 30, 2008 – From February 1 to May 4, 2008, visitors to the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) will have an opportunity to admire sixty-nine works – ceramic, bronze, plaster, and steel sculptures, as well as works on paper – by Fransaskois artist Joe Fafard. Organized by the NGC in partnership with Regina’s MacKenzie Art Gallery, and presented in Ottawa by Heffel Fine Art Auction House, Joe Fafard is the artist’s first major retrospective, covering a period of more than forty years.

Widely known for his sculptures of cows, horses, and other farm animals, Fafard has also immortalized the features of politicians and artists (past and present), friends and members of his family. Inspired by his life in the Canadian prairies and the people he came to know and respect, his works are renowned throughout Canada and around the world.

“Joe’s wit, insightful nature, and ability to observe the minute are embedded in his sculptures,” said NGC director Pierre Théberge. “I’m always delighted by how the public receives his artworks; not only are they fascinated by his skill, but his works also capture their imagination. We are very pleased to be able to offer our visitors a unique opportunity to appreciate the talent and genius of this unique artist.”

“We have a long-standing admiration for Joe Fafard’s work as well as a friendship that stretches back over two decades,” said David Heffel, president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. “We are therefore honoured to be the Presenting Sponsor in Ottawa of the exhibition Joe Fafard and to be given the opportunity to welcome visitors to this superb retrospective devoted to one of Canada’s finest sculptors.”

A rich and varied retrospective
Joe Fafard brings together a selection of the artist’s most striking works since he began his career in the 1960s, and displays his artistic creativity and imaginative talent.

In his introduction, which can be read at the entrance to the first hall of the exhibition, Terrence Heath, curator of Joe Fafard and the artist’s biographer, writes, “This retrospective is built on two key objectives: to show the evolution of the work and to give viewers an opportunity to marvel at its diversity. First, there is the succession of materials used – plaster, earthenware, bronze, steel. There are also changes in scale, from less than life size than to more than life size, but never exactly life size. Then there is the variety of themes, from specific to universal, from the perceived to the imaginary, from the statement to the revelation. The diversity is expressed through works from Joe’s early career up to major public commissions and portraits, from traditional to experimental, from functional to monumental.”

This exhibition was organized jointly by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina. Presented in Ottawa by the Heffel Fine Art Auction House, Joe Fafard was also made possible in part thanks to the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program. The works presented come from public and private collections as well as the artist’s collection.

A biography written by the curator, Terrence Heath, and published by Douglas & McIntyre and the National Gallery of Canada, accompanies the exhibition. This  223-page volume also includes excerpts of interviews with the artist and his relatives, colleagues, and friends, and includes 70 colour plates illustrating all the works in the exhibition. Available in French and English, it is on sale at the National Gallery Bookstore for $55, plus taxes, and at http://www.shopngc.ca/ , the Gallery’s online store.

Joe Fafard on Cybermuse
On the NGC’s Web site, http://cybermuse.gallery.ca/cybermuse/showcases/fafard/english/index_e.jsp, in the section on Joe Fafard, Web surfers are invited to watch the unique bronze casting process used at Fafard’s own Julienne Atelier foundry, where he and his technicians work. The video shows the various steps taken to make a bronze sculpture.

A wide of activities for all ages related to the exhibition will be available from February 1 to the end of April: Meet the Artist, concert, Meet the Curator, films, Artifice evening, and the Sunday Painter, Salt and Pepper, Stimulate the Senses, Family Fundays, and Tiny Tots workshops. To find out more about these activities, their locations, and admission fees, visit http://www.gallery.ca/.

Bell Audioguide
For an enhanced appreciation of the Joe Fafard exhibition, visitors may rent an Audioguide at a cost of $6, which will introduce them to the artist’s world as they tour the exhibition.

Admission and NGC hours
Tickets are now on sale at $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and full-time students, $7 for youths aged 12 to 19 years, and $30 for families (two adults and three children). Admission is free of charge for children under 12 and for Friends of the Gallery. Tickets are available by telephone at 613-998-888 or 1-888-541-8888 and at http://www.shopngc.ca/.

The NGC is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays until 8 p.m. Closed Mondays, except for March 3 and 10, during the school holiday, and Easter Monday. Closed Good Friday.

Exhibition curator
Terrence Heath, who wrote the biography of the artist, is an independent Toronto-based curator who was engaged by the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina to curate the exhibition Joe Fafard.  He was director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery from 1983 to 1985 and administrative director of the Western Development Museum from 1977 to 1980. He has also written numerous award-winning novels, stories, and essays, including the recently published Casualties.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to one of the most important collections of historical and contemporary art in the world. In addition, it has pre-eminent collections of Inuit, Western and European Art from the 14th to the 20th century, American and Asian Art. Created in 1880, it is among the oldest of Canada’s national, cultural institutions. For more information, visit http://www.gallery.ca/.

About the MacKenzie Art Gallery
The MacKenzie Art Gallery has been featuring exhibitions, programs and permanent collection for over 53 years. A not-for-profit cultural organization, it is supported by membership and volunteers, and generously funded by individual donors, corporate sponsors, the University of Regina, Government of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture & Recreation, City of Regina, Saskatchewan Arts Board, The Canada Council for the Arts, City of Regina Arts Commission, Regina Public Schools and Regina Catholic Schools. For more information, visit http://www.mackenzieartgallery.ca/.

About Heffel Fine Art Auction House
Heffel Gallery opened its doors in 1978, offering, at the time, some of the finest art in the country. News spread quickly and the gallery soon became known not only for its great art but also for its integrity and commitment to excellence. Now, just 30 years later, the fundamentals remain the same; what has changed is Heffel’s growth; the company has expanded across Canada and now has galleries and offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Acknowledged as the country’s top fine art auction house, Heffel has become the number one venue for the sale, purchase and appraisal of fine art in Canada.

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For more information, please contact:

Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada

Claire Schofield
Manager, Communications and Public Relations
National Gallery of Canada