Our next Artist You Need To Know is prolific and provocative: perhaps you had the chance to see an excellent exhibition of some of her latest work at the Art Gallery of Burlington when it was there last year. Diana Thorneycroft’s Black Forest (dark waters) created a world that seemed to come from the darker realms of the Grimm Brothers, with ‘mutant horses, their herdsmen and the town they live in.’ There’s no narrative here, just vignettes, unsettling us without resolution or guide posts to be found in her ‘grotesque [and] contradictory imagery of the Rabelaisian carnivalesque.’

The images below are from her Black Forest Series, of which you can see more here, at Thorneycroft’s site.

Diana Thorneycroft is easily among the first rank of Canadian artists, working in a variety of media. She’s based out of Winnipeg but has exhibited numerous ‘bodies of work across Canada, the United States and Europe, as well as in Moscow, Tokyo and Sydney. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2016 Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction, an Assistance to Visual Arts Long-term Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des arts du Canada, several Senior Arts Grants from the The Manitoba Arts Council/ Le conseil des arts du Manitoba and a Fleck Fellowship from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.’ (from her site, which we highly recommend you visit, and that we cite the lovely descriptions from here, so often).

The following images are from her series The Body, its lesson and camouflage: more on this series can be seen here.

There has always been a dark edge to her practice, and has captured the cultural and wider eye of many: she’s been the focus of a number of national radio documentaries, and a CBC television feature as well. Some of her best known work (from 2000 – 2002) is Thorneycroft’s photo-based exhibition, The Body, its lesson and camouflage which toured to many sites. In 2002, several pieces from this ‘body’ of work were in that year’s Phaidon Press publication Blink ‘which presents “the work of 100 rising stars in photography”. The artists were selected by 10 world-class curators, each proposing 10 photographers who they consider to have emerged and broken ground in the last five years.’ (Again, from her site).


The images above are from her series Carnival of Tongues, Tails and other Protrusions: many more delightfully disturbing drawings can be experienced here.

We’re offering only a taste of her thought provoking tableaux: she has often re imagined ideas around Canadian identity, with humour, sometimes the more macabre, and often an enticing melding of the two.
Between 2007- 2014, she realized four distinct yet overlapping series: The Canadiana Martyrdom Series, Group of Seven Awkward Moments, A People’s History and Canadians and Americans (best friends forever… it’s complicated). Group of Seven Awkward Moments was recognized by Canadian Art as one of their Top 10 Exhibitions of 2008.
Thorneycroft taught at the School of Art – University of Manitoba. Her work is well represented in many collections, including: Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Art Gallery of Alberta, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, BMO Financial Group, Fotomuseum Winterthur, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, National Gallery of Canada, RBC, Vancouver Art Gallery and Winnipeg Art Gallery.