Joanne Tod, painter (b at Montréal 12 Feb 1953). Educated in the mid-1970s at Toronto's ONTARIO COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN where she studied painting, Joanne Tod first gained critical attention in 1982 with her participation in the artist-organized Toronto exhibition Monumenta. In an era when many art-world insiders considered the practice of painting to be ethically unjustifiable, Joanne Tod's work tackled important social issues such as identity, power, racism and cultural imperialism. Tod typically paints representational images in a virtuoso style, focusing on the "re-presentation" of an appropriated image from advertising or the popular media. Always wary of the rhetorical power of the painted surface, in the early 1980s she incorporated different strategies of distancing - using unlikely combinations of subject matter, text and curious titles filled with clues - to remind her viewers of the artifice of the picture. Later bodies of work have extended such strategies, using the fragmentation of pictorial space and even double layers of stretched canvas and semi-transparent nylon to make literal the foreground and background spaces of the painting. One of Canada's most noteworthy contemporary artists, Tod brings a critical edge and sharp wit to the practice of representational painting.
Joanne Tod's paintings have been widely exhibited across Canada and the United States, including solo exhibitions at the SOUTHERN ALBERTA ART GALLERY (1985), Power Plant, Toronto / Mendel Gallery, Saskatoon (1991), and the LEONARD AND BINA ELLEN ART GALLERY at Concordia University, Montréal (1993), and abroad in France, Germany, Turkey, Mexico and Italy. Her work is represented in the collections of the NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA, the ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO, the VANCOUVER ART GALLERY, the ROBERT McLAUGHLIN GALLERY and many other public, private and corporate collections in Canada.
In 2007, Joanne Tod began a project involving the creation of portraits of every Canadian soldier killed while serving in Afghanistan. The artist's intention is that the portraits, each painted on an individual 5 x 6 inch birch panel, will eventually be installed as part of a large painted "mosaic" of the Canadian flag.