Julie Favreau

Artist draws on life experiences to explore relationship between human and object.

Julie Favreau l Photo: Nat Gorry Julie Favreau l Photo: Nat Gorry

"I think in 3D all the time," says Julie Favreau.

That's why the artist, who works in video art, photography, performance and installation, was drawn to specialize in sculpture when she entered Concordia's MFA in Studio Arts program: she wanted to learn how to best build the objects for her multidisciplinary projects.

"Sculpture is a medium of mise en scène, of putting bodies and objects in space."  

"Object" is the key word here - they're central to her research-creation. While her work is also influenced by experimental theatre and dance, Favreau is most interested in how we interact with objects. "I want to explore how characters affect the objects that surround them, as well as the other way around."

Born and raised in a Quebec City suburb that she found bereft of the type of philosophical thinking in which she wanted to engage, Favreau sought a way out via art. She earned her Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Five years later, she looked to Concordia to better understand the anglophone world and to see art from a different perspective.

During her studies at Concordia, she completed four residencies, including 12 weeks in Paris as part of the Résidences croisées France-Québec arranged with the Fonderie Darling Foundry-Quartier Éphémère. Her work has been presented at exhibitions, festivals and in stage performances, such as the Québec Triennial 2011 organized by the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, and at the Goodwater Gallery in Toronto. She was also named in 2012 to the long list of the Sobey Art Award, a major Canadian prize for a young Canadian artist.

While flourishing in the outside art world, she nevertheless appreciated the honest, in-depth advice the academic milieu provided to her.

Julie Favreau, Ernest Ferdik, Video installation view, 2011. Photo by Guy L'Heureux. Click image to enlarge. Julie Favreau, Ernest Ferdik, Video installation view, 2011. Photo by Guy L'Heureux. Click image to enlarge.

The feedback helped Favreau to take her work to another level. She began to receive grants, which enabled her to forego the jobs at various bars that had funded her way through school for a decade. Not that she regrets that work -- it gave her invaluable insight into the human experience that she wouldn't trade for anything, she says, especially since much of her work is about relationships.

Favreau has been funnelling that insight, along with the skills and experience she acquired at Concordia, into her work. The fact she won a plum two-year award hasn't hurt. As the Concordia recipient of the 2012 Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art (worth approximately $55,000), Favreau will have good support as she launches a professional career, embarks on greater research-creation and expands her teaching experience.

"I feel like I'm armed now to conduct research, speak with curators, and contribute to the academic world," Favreau says.

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