Joe Coffey works in oils, graphite, and mixed media. Born in Caledon East, Ontario, his early years were spent on the family farm. Widely acclaimed for his graphic skills, he has won awards for his art, and has been featured in multiple group exhibitions and solo shows. Joe has been working as a professional, exhibiting artist for the past 18 years, with galleries in Victoria, Vancouver and Calgary. His works, including commissions, are in private collections across Canada, the USA, and England. Joe presently lives and works in Victoria, BC.

I grew up in Caledon, Ontario, at the time a rural enclave outside of Toronto. My family were farmers, and although I am no longer religious, they raised me as a Catholic. Visceral memories of the icons and rituals of this faith still influence my work today, especially so, because my mother died suddenly when I was 5. At the funeral I remember the statues and friezes, the faces of Catholic mythology staring down at me, each quiet and singular, each fixed in a moment of their own story. I felt my own emotions in their complicated expressions. In my work today I continue to explore my own personal story in the figures I paint yet believe each image will suggest a different story to each viewer.

After my mother’s death I felt embarrassed if a school mate even mentioned it, and so I felt isolated even in a crowd. My best friends were the farm animals I would meet on my walks. We had an affinity. They loomed above my little being and their eyes transfixed me. I began to draw them. In doing so I could capture my own emotions. As I matured, my images, while still personal, began to express my conviction that the human condition is solitary, that each of us traverses this world alone. Paradoxically I recognize my fascination with “face” and excavating some kind of personality out of my subjects is perhaps my way of connecting to others, or... (
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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