Diana Thoreycroft was back in town in late September for the opening of her show HERD at the Ottawa School of Art Gallery at the Shenkman Centre, Ottawa. On Saturday, September 24, I, with a number of other Ottawa artists, got to spend a day with Diana in an experimental drawing studio. It was lots of fun. The next day I came back to hear Diana’s artist talk on HERD and the influence of the grotesque in her work. HERD is an installation of over 100 altered plastic horses running along a ramp. Also included in the show is a series of photographic works that include the horses in some unsettling way. I am sure there will be more of these!
Diana is perhaps best known for her humorous Group of Seven Awkward Moments series but it is her controversial People’s History series that has already put her in the Contemporary Canadian art history curriculum. You can see more about her work on her website.
First seeing her work at that Carleton University Art Gallery in 2010 motivated me to take an experimental drawing summer studio course with her the next summer at the Ottawa School of Art. During that week, Diana pushed us to carry out some meaningful “intervention art.” It was this project that started me on my path of animal advocacy and my Pigs in a Post Modern World series (see my other website Art that Makes a Difference.)
Thanks Diana for your ongoing friendship, influence and inspiration!