SEARCHING FOR TOM – Tom Thomson: Man, Myth and Masterworks at Kitchener Museum

The Museum in downtown Kitchener announce its next major collaborative exhibition; SEARCHING FOR TOM – Tom Thomson: Man, Myth and Masterworks to open in February 2011.

The exhibition, which is primarily based on the famous Canadian painter Tom Thomson, will explore his life, his work and the mysteries around his death at a time that a young Canada was searching for its own identity. It is being jointly created by The Museum and award winning curator Virginia Eichhorn. Eichhorn is the Director and Curator at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound and was formerly the Curator at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery.

In preparation for the show, The Museum has begun literally ‘searching for Tom’. The core of the exhibition is comprised of artworks by Thomson, artifacts related to him, and other related historic and contemporary artworks from the permanent collection of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery. Having reached out to a number of organizations to augment the exhibition’s presentation, galleries including the Art Gallery of Ontario, National Gallery, the Art Gallery of Grimsby and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection are all contributing to the show. In addition, some private collectors are on board to lend work and will help expose the public to rarely seen pieces by Thomson and members of the Group of Seven.

In addition to ‘searching’ for artwork, The Museum is also searching for partners, sponsors and volunteers to round out the Festival Strategy. David Marskell, The Museum’s CEO, explains that, “like hockey, Thomson has become a part of the Canadian psyche and Canadians are still searching for Tom almost 100 years after his mysterious death. He ultimately changed and defined the way Canadians view our nation which has resulted in numerous interpretations through multi-media art.” Marskell goes on to say that, “it is our desire to bring awareness of Thomson to new generations and to new Canadians.”

Festival Strategy Attracts First Ever Gamble Family Award

As part of Searching for Tom there will be an official call to artists, which launches July 8th, 93 years after Thomson’s body was found at Canoe Lake. Artists will be prompted to answer and interpret a question related to Thomson and submit proposals to produce an original work in their media of choice. The winning artist, chosen by jury, will be granted the first ever Gamble Family Award, an honourarium of $10,000 and inclusion of their piece in Searching for Tom at The Museum in 2011.

This piece, along with other contemporary, cross-disciplinary art to be featured in the show, will help demonstrate how profoundly Thomson still resonates with Canadians today and that there are artists across the country that continue to be influenced by Thomson and his work. (Please see separate Press Release for more details.)

To complement the exhibition, The Museum is also searching for other creative interpretations in media ranging from graffiti art to sculpture to digital installations to performance art to film, fashion and music.

Virginia Eichhorn is enthusiastic about returning to the area to curate this show. “It is wonderful to be working with The Museum again; especially for the opportunity for The Museum and the Tom Thomson Art Gallery to work together in this collaborative way,” she explains. “The exhibition is such a great opportunity to get the story of Tom Thomson out there in a way it hasn’t been told before – through the work of not only Thomson, but also through contemporary, multidisciplinary artists to illustrate the scope and scale of Thomson’s influence.”

Almost 100 years after his death, Canadians are still ‘Searching for Tom’. This winter, The Museum invites the Region to join the search and discover this iconic Canadian artist. For more information about The Museum or to become involved with SEARCHING FOR TOM – Tom Thomson: Man, Myth and Masterworks, please call 519-749-9387 x. 221, visit or write to [email protected]

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