Murray Favro

About the Artist

F86 JetOne of Murray Favro’s strongest childhood memories is of F-86 Sabre jet fighters flying over his home in Huntsville, Ontario.  His fascination with the graceful planes shows up later in his artistic practice.  One of his more spectacular three-dimensional works is his construction of the fuselage of a Sabre, displayed at 55 percent of full size.

Favro was born in 1940.  Early on, he showed an interest in machines of all kinds, an interest that was encouraged by an uncle who was a tinkerer and inventor.  When he was a teenager Favro moved to London, Ontario, where he attended a technical and commercial school that also offered specialized art classes.

He began his career  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  brightly coloured works on masonite.  Around 1965 he quit  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  to pursue his other interests – guitars, machines, airplanes, and experiments with film images and inventions.  Favro was a founding member in 1965 of the Nihilist Spasm Band, which was critical to the development of his thinking about art.

“We started the Spasm Band by building our own instruments, then playing them in our own way,” Favro wrote in 1971. “Our  conceptAn idea, thought, or notion conceived through mental activity. The words concept and conception are applied to mental formulations on a broad scale. (Artlex.com)  of the band was that it would not have a leader or play structured music. …in the Spasm Band we recognize there can be many ways of listening. Our value is our activity.” (Andreae, 1983).

This spontaneous and improvisational notion of creativity is evident in Favro’s distinctly  multi-disciplinaryCombining a number of areas of study--disciplines--in one practice, for example, visual art, music, and theatre.  approach.  He has produced an impressive  body of workA collection of artwork by a particular artist, either over a lifetime, or as related to one subject, etc.  that includes drawing, sculpture, performance, and installation, often involving slide or film projections, lighting effects and electronic technology.  His work is represented in every major public  collectionTo collect is to accumulate objects. A collection is an accumulation of objects. A collector is a person who makes a collection. (Artlex.com)  in Canada, and has been exhibited widely in Canada and internationally for more than 40 years.  Favro is a recipient of a 2007 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning