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SC Wednesday, October 25, 10 am Speaker: Joanne Tod, Title: “The Dearth of Irony: Postmodernism, Identity Politics and the Visual Arts”

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October 25, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Speaker: Joanne Tod

Title: “The Dearth of Irony: Postmodernism, Identity Politics and the Visual Arts”

 Abstract: Rejecting the grand narratives and absolute values embraced by Modernism, some of the conceptual tactics in the Postmodernist arsenal include skepticism, self-referentiality and irony. Joanne Tod, an emerging artist during this period, made work exemplifying many of the strategic hallmarks of Postmodernism. Although realist painting was at the time seen as “naïve realism”, aligning itself with “objectivity”, now so firmly repudiated, Tod used this style in order represent the very issues of Postmodernist discourse, prioritizing content over form. But time marches on, and the inclusivity embodied by Postmodernism has been displaced by identity politics with its many facets and subsections. Language is scrutinized, parsed and modified like never before. Irony is on treacherous ground. Sincere intentions are fraught. Joanne Tod will discuss this changing political terrain and how it has affected her work and her life.

Bio: Joanne Tod is an established Canadian artist based in Toronto. Her paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally for over four decades and are included in the collections of such major art institutions as the Art Gallery of Ontario, National Gallery of Canada and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Tod studied in Toronto at the Ontario College of Art during the mid-1970s, at the height of conceptualism – a period in art when painting was being questioned for its indebtedness to the traditions of representation. Tod embraced the theories of the time by examining the role of painting through painting itself. While her realism carries on conventions of the medium, her subject matter is firmly tied to contemporary discourse and ideas, with themes that critique such topical issues as gender and ethnic identity, cultural appropriation, social representation, and corporate and political power.

In addition to producing work for gallery exhibitions, Tod has been commissioned to paint numerous portraits of high-ranking politicians and leading intellectuals. Her most recent commission was the official portrait of Teresa Donnelly, Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario (2023). Concurrently, she paints individuals who are part of the zeitgeist but aren’t usually the subject of official portraiture. They cover a range of popular and notorious figures, from domestic diva Martha Stewart and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, to young socialites of the Toronto art scene.  A recently published history of the diverse practices of appropriation (Community of Images – Strategies of Appropriation in Canadian Art 1977-1900, YYZ Books, 2023) includes an extensive critical analysis of Joanne Tod’s oeuvre from this period. Recent 2023 group exhibitions: Views of Within: Portraits of the Spaces We Inhabit (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts); As I See Her (Caviar 20).

The link to register is  https://forms.office.com/r/D3WzL9WASN

The deadline to register is the Monday before the event at noon. The Zoom link will be sent to registrants only.


October 25, 2023
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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