Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Diana Thorneycroft, Black Forest (village), Woodsman (wood gatherer and amputator), 2015, digital photograph
Opening Reception- October 10, 2019 6-8pm @ VPAG
Diana 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 the 2016 Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction, 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.
Her early work was the subject of national radio documentaries and a CBC national documentary for television. From 2000 - 2002, Thorneycroft's photo-based exhibition, The Body, its lesson and camouflage toured to eight venues. Several images from this work show were included in the 2002 Phaidon Press publication Blink, which presents "the work of 100 rising stars in photography". The artists were selected by 10 world-class curators, each proposing 10 photographers who they consider to have emerged and broken ground in the last five years.
Thorneycroft is perhaps best known for her photographic work depicting facets of Canadian identity. Some of the work is humous, sometimes dark, frequently both. From 2007- 2014, she completed four series: The Canadiana Martyrdom Series, Group of Seven Awkward Moments, A People's History and Canadians and Americans (best friends forever... it's complicated)). Canadian Art Magazine selected the Group of Seven Awkward Moments as one of The Top 10 Exhibitions of 2008.
Equally as dark is Thorneycroft's drawing series There Must Be 50 Ways to Kill Your Lover, which is divided into three categories: Foul Play, Desperate Housewives and Failed Relationships. Well known cartoon characters are depicted in scenes suggests domestic violence. Although the work is rich with black humour, it also remind us of how frequently spouses die at the hands of their lovers.
In 2013, Thorneycroft began working on a complex installation entitled Black Forest (dark waters). The exhibition, which had its inaugural opening in 2018, is composed of three interconnected bodies of work; two sculptural installations that are presented as physical evidence of the cryptic narrative that unfolds in the suite of 19 photographs.
Black Forest (dark waters) is a dark fairy tale about mutant horses, their herdsmen and the town they live in. Unlike traditional fairy tales - where a conflict is resolved, the story remains cryptic and refrains from providing the comfort of closure. Everything in Thorneycroft's Black Forest embraces the grotesque and embodies the dualistic and contradictory imagery of the Rabelaisian carnivalesque.