Conrad Furey: Drawing The Man In The Boat


As early as 1974, Conrad Furey (1954-2008) has been known to keep sketchbooks that not only illustrated the progression of his work, but also held his thoughts, notes, and even his failures, which will respectfully never be shared with the public.

Keeping a sketchbook is common practice for most artists. It is a place where you can practice your ideas without judgment, find your comfort zone, strengthen your own philosophies, and most importantly kept private. It has been ten years since Furey has past and the Estate and Gallery have dug through these ‘capsules of thoughts’ to put forth a small collection of drawings that we believe Furey would be proud to share.

“I felt like I had something to communicate. I had a drive to draw and paint.” Keeping in mind Conrad Furey’s words, which he wrote in a sketchbook some twenty years into his artist career, a cross section of images have been chosen. The primary focus of the drawings is his iconic ‘Man in Boat’ imagery that continued to find residency on his canvas over his lifetime. An ink drawing as early as 1978, illustrates Furey’s most primitive style of rounded faces, ever present dory and often plaid shirted men. In later years, this Man in Boat became more refined by way of more atomically correct form, increased facial detail and expressions, and interaction with other characters in the images as examplified in a drawing titled Tourism.

To highlight, there a few drawings were the preliminary drawings for large commissioned work found among the City of Hamilton’s institutions. Preliminary drawings for murals at the Hamilton Public Library, Central location, and the Hamilton Children’s Museum are two memorable cut out sculptures that have found a permanent home in the fabric of Hamilton’s public art.

It is with great inquisitiveness and excitement that the Estate of Conrad Furey and Earls Court Gallery presents this small body of drawings to the public and collectors who continually honoured Conrad Furey’s legacy.

-- Andrea Jackman, Curator

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