September 26 — October 01, 2020
Auction begins to close at 2 pm ET
DIANA THORNEYCROFT (1956-)
Private Collection, Toronto
Winnipeg-based artist Diana Thorneycroft is known for her photographs of darkly witty dioramas, which are often constructed using children’s toys. In “Group of Seven Awkward Moments,” the artist used reproductions of paintings by the Group of Seven as backdrops to tableaux that question national identity, the ever-shifting interpretations of history, and the Canadian relationship to landscape. In the artist’s own words, “it is through the use of the collective's iconic northern landscapes, which have come to symbolize Canada as a nation, combined with scenes of accidents, disasters, and bad weather that gives the work its edge. By pairing the tranquility of traditional landscape painting with black humour, the work conjures up topical and universally familiar landscapes fraught with anxiety and contradictions.”
In “Beaver and Woo at Tanoo,” the iconic Canadian lumberjack, surrounded by beavers, is paused during the act of felling totem poles rather than timber. The backdrop is Emily Carr’s “Tanoo, Q.C.I.,” which the artist painted in 1912 upon her return from France. 1912 marked the apex of First Nations’ protests against the encroachment of settlers on Native land, as well as a smallpox epidemic that decimated all but two Haida villages. Thorneycroft harnesses this pain and trauma, echoing it in both foreground and background.