Hand to Ground, thesis exhibition

Hand to Ground, thesis exhibition

Karsh Masson Gallery, Ottawa

August 1 - September 10, 2015

reception: Wednesday, August 19, 5:30-7:30

Canadian Art Must-See Exhibition July 30, 2015

Canadian Art Recommended Exhibition

Artist Statement

Hand to Ground is the graduate thesis exhibition of Stanzie Tooth, MFA candidate in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Ottawa. Stemming from her upbringing in rural Ontario, Tooth’s paintings question ideas of personal ecology and a sense of engagement, or interference, with one’s environment. Recent works show various states of morphogenesis; figures are caught in scenes of (de)evolution, haunted by the looming mystery of their destined form. Inspired by the Margaret Atwood novel Surfacing, this body of work looks at conventions of landscape painting and obscures these to express potential for alternative notions of identity to be discovered within the land.

The title of this exhibition refers both to the relationships between figure and ground imaged within these works, as well as the process of painting, the act of the artist’s hand engaged with the surface, or ground, of the canvas. Both of these speak to Tooth’s interest in ‘becoming’, which is expressed through her unique material explorations. Works are left at different stoppages of development to show various modes of emergence. By suspending the formation of figure and scene at different points of the painting process, diverse representations of identity are achieved. The human trace is evidenced in levels of control, subservience or communion with the land in hopes of expressing conflicting ideas of self.


Stanzie Tooth is an MFA candidate at the University of Ottawa. In 2007 she received her BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design with an award for excellence in painting. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada including 60 Painters at Humber College, an ambitious overview of contemporary Canadian painting. She was recently named the 2015 recipient of the Joseph Plaskett Award. Stanzie Tooth is represented by General Hardware Contemporary, Toronto. 

As a supplement to our regular programming, Karsh-Masson Gallery is pleased to partner with the University of Ottawa’s Department of Visual Arts to provide a valuable mentorship and professional development opportunity.

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