David Lafrance

Artist statement

David Lafrance’s bountiful, iconographic universe has evolved through painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing and experimental music for nearly 15 years. His imagery includes human and animal figures, but also a plethora of historical and pop cultural symbols that activate our collective memory, but also the artist’s own personal memory. This lexicon of figures has come to distinguish Lafrance’s thematic and formal vocabulary over time.

The stage for his recurrent symbols is frequently made up of indeterminate, mysterious spaces representing partial interiors or fragments of landscapes and gardens of lush vegetation. His compositions are comprised of multiple spaces and timelines, which tend to negate all rational perspective in favour of mostly vertical configurations. Juxtaposed with figurative elements, the abstract backgrounds or gaps open up the pictorial plane. Between figuration and abstraction, a profusion of motifs within flat areas of colour suggest utopian worlds of an idyllic yet troubling nature.

With a technique that merges realism and naïve art, subtlety and rusticity, Lafrance examines the places and effigies that give tangible form to society’s incessant quest for pleasure and (over)consumption. The results are series such as Clubs, Video Poker, and Ventilateurs, to name a few. Similarly, spaces for public gatherings and festivities, as well as nightlife are also recurring themes that create tension between individual freedom and desires.

As for his sculptural work, Lafrance favours a more raw technique in which forms are roughed in, assembled and then painted. This body of work corresponds to his pictorial universe, referring to and activating similar formal approaches and related analytical sources such as memory, popular culture and desire.


David Lafrance (b. 1976) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montréal (2001) where he is currently completing his MFA. His work has been presented in numerous exhibitions and biennales in Canada, the US, and in France. Among his recent solo exhibitions are Maison de la culture Marie-Uguay (2018), Ceaac (2015), Strasbourg; Galerie Hugues Charbonneau (2014); L’Œil de Poisson (2014), Québec City; and the Musée régional de Rimouski (2012), which won the prize for “Best exhibition outside of Montréal” at the AGAC’s Gala des arts visuels. He recently participated in various group exhibitions, namely at the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides (2018), Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (2015), l’Œil de Poisson (2015), Art Action Actuel, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (2013), and at the Centre d’art l’Écart, in Rouyn-Noranda (2013).

His work is part of several private and public collections, including the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec; the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montréal; Lotto Québec; Hydro-Québec; and Mouvement Desjardins.