Andre Fauteux

Gallery One

Andre Fauteux’s dedication to the exploration of abstract form has not wavered since the early ’70s. During this time he has moved away from a reliance on the vocabulary of formalism to an exploration of space and the translation of sculptural form within that space. With the shift in taste that has reconfirmed the importance of abstraction, Fauteux’s sculptures are now being reexamined with keen interest. In these six recent sculptures, Fauteux is predominantly working in brass, a material that exerts its tensile strength while implying a visual rigidity. By leaving the brass roughly hewn, he has resisted the temptation to allow his pieces to become merely pleasurable objects. Cut from sheet metal and welded, they refer, instead, to architecture; each is a fully enclosed upright structure that recalls a severed section.

Fauteux has turned toward a preoccupation with tight compact forms that close in on themselves, rather than jutting out into the viewers’ space. His works refer less to the overall environment than to a relationship with the individual. Fauteux is scaling down these pieces to a measure that clearly identifies their objecthood. During the past two years, Fauteux spent two extended periods working in Barcelona; as a result, he has adapted elements from Romanesque architecture that are very evident here. In the cantilevered works entitled Romanesque Variation I and II, 1989, Fauteux has mirrored the exterior of the sculpture by doubling its structure on the visible interior portions, similar in manner to Romanesque buildings which have their exterior mass echoed throughout the interior spaces. In Inferno, 1989, he has adapted the characteristic Romanesque arch and melded it with a childhood memory of the enormous heated ovens of the brickworks in his childhood home of Hamilton, Ontario. The artist has lined the bottom of this thin, wedged construction with a series of arches that puncture the visual completeness of the form.

Fauteux is dexterous in his ability to transform the material he is working with, to bend and shape it into an object that transcends its medium. In Inferno, the brass he’s used becomes a skin which wraps the shape, rather than a solid mass or boxlike structure in and of itself. The same holds true for Niagara Region Variation, 1989, a basket of upright Cor-Ten steel sheeting held together by brass strapping. Inspired by wood veneer fruit baskets found in some produce stores, the warping of the steel and implied flexibility capitalizes on the interplay between opposing forces. Not surprisingly, the steel sheets engender a strong sense of gravity by their massiveness, yet they hover in a perfect balance of mass and weight.

Linda Genereux