As an intern at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, I have been given the incredible opportunity to become more familiar with the institution's extensive art collection. In my third year of an Art History/ Museum Studies major, I have just scratched the surface in gaining knowledge about the University's collection, which numbers over 14,000 objects. Of all these artworks, some of the most striking that I have seen are by Joanne Tod.
Educated in the mid-1970s at Toronto's Ontario College of Art and Design, Tod pursued painting as her primary practice. Tod first gained critical attention in 1982 with her participation in the Toronto exhibition Monumenta. In a time when painting was considered to be ethically unjustifiable, she pushed the limits and brought out controversial subjects pertaining to identity, power, racism and cultural imperialism.
Tod constantly used unlikely combinations of subject matter, text and curious titles that were filled with clues to remind the viewer of the tricks a painting can pull on them. I think some of Tod's most interesting artworks come from her later series where she extends her strategies and experiments technically with the stretched canvas.
In Sandwich (1994) and Flood Plain (1993), she fragments the pictorial space further by creating a double-layered stretched canvas and incorporating semi-transparent nylon to literally make a division between the foreground and background of the painting.
I hope to come across more remarkable contemporary Canadian artists' works, like that of Joanne Tod, as I continue studying the University's significant art collection.
Allison Spencer, Museum Studies Intern, Faculty of Fine Arts