John Pangnark, Previously Sold Artwork

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Standing Figure
John Pangnark
Stone (4.5x4x4 in) circa 1968
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John Pangnark
Soapstone (6.5x4x5 in) circa 1965
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Woman in Parka
John Pangnark
Soapstone (6x5.25x3.5 in) circa 1965
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Mother and Child
John Pangnark
stone (7.25x6.75x6.25 in) circa 1965
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Reclining Figure
John Pangnark
Soapstone (5.25x2.25x2.87 in) circa 1960
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John Pangnark

(1920 - 1980)

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Born in 1920 at Windy Lake, 300 km west of Arviat (Nunavut), Pangnark died in 1980. A member of the Ahiamiut Inuit Pangnark was, along with many others, resettled in Arviat in the late 1950s. He had experienced years of hardship due to the area's famines in the 1950s and until that time Pangnark had been living a semi-nomadic hunting lifestyle. He would continue to hunt to support his family while they lived in Arviat.

His artistic career began in the early 1960s and went through many phases. In the mid-1960s the curves and planes of his sculptures softened. In the 1970s his approach became even more minimal. The sculpture of this period was characterized by smooth and irregular surfaces which were incised with faint slits to delineate facial features.

Pangnark's work attracts individuals who appreciate its cerebral and modern qualities. His sculpture is often compared to that of Romanian sculptor Brancusi by emphasizing volume, planes and curves.

The artist's work is distinguished from most Inuit sculpture due to its non-narrative and abstract form. Pangnark focuses his attention almost entirely on single figures but within that focus he explores many variations. Cur-ator Robert Kardosh observes that there is no evidence that Pangnark was influenced by Western artists. The artist's work, Kardosh believes, was the product of the artist's life. Marie Routledge and Ingo Hessel also argue that the pared-down sculpture produced by the Inuit of the Keewatin region is a result of lives that were often lived at the most basic level of existence.

The contribution of the distinctive Arviat stone to the signature form of these sculptures is also an important factor to consider in Pangnark's work. The Arviat's hard stone resists detailed work and the emotional power of sculpture made from this stone is enhanced rather than diminished by the absence of detail or decoration. Thus, the sculpture produced in Arviat, and especially by Pangnark, focuses on essentials and not details.

Critical recognition also occurred in the 1970s. Pangnark's work was included in major group exhibitions. His work, for example, was represented in a world tour of Inuit art called: "Sculpture/Inuit. Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic" exhibition (1971-73). He was also one of four Inuit artists to travel to Osaka, Japan for Expo 70 as artists in residence.

Pangnark is remembered as being kind-hearted, and a gentle, sensitive man who created insightful, meditative sculpture.


Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec
Collection of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, London, England
Dennos Museum Center, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.A.
Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
Inuit Cultural Institute, Rankin Inlet, Northwest Territories
Klamer Family Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec
Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
Sarick Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Williamson Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba