stone, 4.5 x 6.25 x 4.25 in (11.4 x 15.9 x 10.8 cm)
ESTIMATE: $3,000 — $5,000
PRICE REALIZED: $3,120
Private Collection, Ottawa;
By descent to a Private Collection, Montreal.
Pangnark devoted himself almost exclusively to the single human figure, and eventually went even further down the 'minimalist' path than his colleague Andy Miki. Pangnark's earliest works dating from the mid to late 1960s are already abstract figures - somewhat hard-edged but clearly recognizable as human. In the early 1970s Pangnark softened and further streamlined his forms. The human figure, though radically simplified, is still discernible. By 1973-74, however, Pangnark's sculptures are barely recognizable as human, with only the faintest of facial details scratched onto highly abstract or amorphous forms that, seemingly, simply follow the original shape of the stone.
I really like Pangnark's work because it's not realistic - just like mine… Our carvings are similar; they don't look real. I understand now that carvings that are not realistic are more interesting because of their shape. [Pangnark and I] used to be embarrassed by the look of our carvings… I like imaginary things rather than realistic things .
We might have to search for the facial features for a few moments, but once we find them we realize that we're looking at a masterpiece of minimalist sculpture. Pangnark had intense respect for natural stone but here he left no surface untouched; he clearly shaped the gentle, subtle protrusions and left the beautiful marks of file and rasp everywhere. Exquisite.
1. Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok interviewed by Ingo Hessel, 1989. Tasseor was a friend, and a fan, and, to some extent, a follower of Pangnark.
References: For similarly abstracted, contemporaneous examples of Pangnark's figures see Ingo Hessel, Inuit Art: An Introduction (Douglas & McIntyre, 1998), figs. 58, 103; Norman Zepp, Pure Vision (Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, 1986), cat. 30. See also Sandra Dyck and Ingo Hessel, Sanattiaqsimajut: Inuit Art from the Carleton University Art Gallery Collection (Ottawa: CUAG, 2009) frontispiece and cat. 25; and Marion Scott Gallery, Inspiration: Four Decades of Sculpture by Canadian Inuit (Vancouver, 1995), cat. 31.