Thursday, December 7, 2023

Field of Vision Exhibition Opens at The TOM

On Saturday, June 24, a new exhibition featuring a rare collection of Tom Thomson’s photographs opened at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound.

Fifty years after Tom Thomson’s death, his niece Jessie Fisk discovered a small bundle of photographic negatives that were captured by the artist during the last seven years of his life. After she had them printed, an intimate glimpse into Thomson’s life and experiences emerged, including the people he was close to, the wildlife he encountered, and the environments he inhabited.

Field of Vision, curated and presented by the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, brings together all forty photographs that have been credited to Thomson alongside his painted sketches, as parallel forms of visual expression. Although there is no evidence to suggest that Thomson envisioned his photographs as works of art, they offer another layer of perspective to our overall understanding of his distinct vision. As Canadian curator and art historian Dennis Reid wrote, “If the artist’s usual form of expression is dependent upon the presentation of a moment of experience, as was Thomson’s, then the pertinence of even casual photographs is obvious.” Photography’s adeptness at capturing spontaneous, fleeting moments with accuracy parallels the painterly approach that Thomson embraced while creating his iconic plein-air sketches. The exhibition runs until Saturday, September 2.

The Art Gallery is also hosting a Sip and See Wine event on Wednesday, July 5, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. The event is free with a cash bar and light fare. The Gallery’s Director and Assistant Curator will be there to provide tours.

For more information, please contact Aidan Ware, Director and Chief Curator, Art Gallery, Culture, Tourism, 519-376-1932 ext. 5001 or email to aware@tomthomson.org

Tom Thomson is famous for his paintings but seeing his photographs offers us a whole new perspective and glimpse into his life. From fish to lakes to members of the Group of Seven who he was friends with, the pictures tell the story of a man who loved the outdoors and who was embraced by those who would become part of the most influential art movement in Canadian history,” noted Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy.

Myth, icon, legend, mystery – Tom Thomson feels as elusive as the shadows in his paintings. Having the opportunity to see his photography brings him closer to us as a human being and gives us the rare lens through which to witness the world as he encountered it. The images are speckled, blurred, with a quality of almost disappearing, and yet so vitally present – remarkable, moving, and resonant,” said Aidan Ware, Director and Chief Curator.

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