Thorneycroft exhibit at the AGB is wild, big, imaginative and not to be missed.

artsorange 100x100By Staff

October 28th, 2108



We really should have told you about the Diana Thorneycroft exhibit when it opened at the Art Gallery.

It opened in September – the election kept us away from a lot of the cultural life of the city.


Diana Thorneycroft

Thorneycroft is a Winnipeg artist who has exhibited various bodies of work across Canada, the United States and Europe, as well as in Moscow, Tokyo and Sydney. She is the recipient of numerous awards including an Assistance to Visual Arts Long-term Grant from the Canada Council, several Senior Arts Grants from the Manitoba Arts Council and a Fleck Fellowship from the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Thorneycroft - full ramp

It is huge, sweeping from floor level to the height of an average person’s shoulders. Kids will love it – just make sure they don’t touch the ponies.

Her exhibit may have been the last one outgoing Senior Curator Denis Longchamps did for the AGB before he headed west to the  Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery in Waterloo.

The Thorneycroft work has been the subject of national radio documentaries and a CBC national documentary for television. Thorneycroft’s photo-based exhibition, The Body, its lesson and camouflage was on an eight city tour from 2000 to 2002.

The exhibit at the AGB covers three of her recent works Herd, The Village and Black Forest (dark waters); it is a stunning installation. Over a hundred and fifty toy horses stampede throughout the gallery in Herd, some with morphed appearances. The altered physical representation of the horses highlight a juxtaposition of the animals as vulnerable yet powerful, tamed but wild.

Introducing young children to art is not always easy – they have yet to develop critical skills. The Herd is big and imaginative- the kind of visual that will stretch a young mind. It will be difficult to keep their hands of the hundreds of ponies that are charging up a steep slope.

Thorneycroft is known for creating provocative and controversial photographs that challenge her audience’s viewing experience. Her seemingly comical images composed of innocent subjects-dolls and toy figurines -and set against the landscapes of the Group of Seven and their contemporaries reveal, upon a closer examination, a deeper and darker meaning.

Titled Group of Seven Awkward Moments, the exhibit was at the McMichael Art Gallery in Kleinburg.

Thorneycroft - partial slope

Looking down the ramp the ponies are running up.

In one of the pieces in that exhibit she used Arthur Lismer’s 1922 canvas, ‘Sombre Hill, Algoma’ as her backdrop. In the foreground is a model of the Avro Arrow airplane propped up by pontoons that Thorneycroft took from a Cessna model. An interceptor aircraft, the real Arrow in the mid-1950s was celebrated as the cutting-edge of Canada’s aviation industry.

However, in 1959, at the height of the Cold War, its production was cancelled by the Diefenbaker government and all five flying test models and production aircraft destroyed, along with their blueprints. In Thorneycroft’s alternate universe, though, one has survived and been adapted to serve the more prosaic needs of the Great White North.

You will see that imagination at work in the Herd – on at the AGB until the November 18th.

Thorneycroft - close up

A closer look at those ponies is the result of an artist’s imagination at its fullest.

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