Our Home and Native Land

Commissioned by celebrated Canadian Painter & Professor Joanne Tod on the occasion of Hassard’s graduation from the University of Toronto in 2016.

Dear Joanne,

Our Home and Native Land speaks to my interest in abolishing the spectator by activating the memory of art and everyday objects in an effort to reduce the barriers between lexicons that calcify over time. Commissioned by you upon my graduation, the site-specific work was inspired by a branch from one of Tom Thomson’s White Pines that you have kept on the edge of the tub since making a pilgrimage to find the iconic Canadian symbol decomposing off the coast of cottage country. 

Ever my painting prof, your resulting diptych Divided Touch (2010) described the manner in which impressionists applied paint in unmixed dabs so that colours could be brightened by association. The same principle is at play in the branding of products designed to trigger an emotional recognition with consumers. Compiled together into this hysterically realistic defragmenting landscape, the sense of exhilaration recorded in modernist depictions of Canada is perverted into an almost nauseating kaleidoscopic record of human consumption. By defining the landscape in terms of squares and rectangles covered in trash, I hope the primordial celebration of man’s dominance over nature is captured, ridiculed, and replaced with a sense of urgency to reconfigure with care.  

I offer my response as a tribute to those artists who have asserted themselves against boundary lines, shattering history as they knew it so that I could inherit a world of infinite possiblity. Out of the wasteland emerges my metamodern appreciation for the role young artists hold on a dialogical continuum and a promise continue moving forward while always looking back. 

Sincerely,

Chantal Hassard

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