Homage
June 14, 2021 – January 13, 2022 at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg ON, curated by Sarah Milroy.

From the exhibition website:

Jon Sasaki: Homage is a suite of photographs depicting petri dishes with bloomed bacterial cultures derived from swabs of the palettes and brushes used by members of the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, objects held in the archives of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. These large-scale works are monumental in scale yet they reveal microscopic detail, affirming a playful reverence towards the Group’s legacy while reframing the genre of landscape painting through the lens of photography. Through these glowing bacterial landscapes Sasaki has generated a new sublime, a counterpoint to the quotidian nature of what lies beneath. The artifacts from which the microscopic organisms were gathered will be exhibited in dialogue with the photographs, presenting a poignant entanglement of past and present-day artists in the story of Canadian art. 

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition with essays by Sarah Milroy, Alison Douglas and the artist. The exhibition is co-presented by the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.

Each 36"x36" photograph depicts a microbial colony of bacteria, yeast and fungus that sat dormant on studio objects once owned by iconic Canadian landscape painters Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, Tom Thomson and Frederick Varley. A video accompanies the exhibition showing sterile swabs daubing the objects in places where the artists would have handled them, before transferring the microbes to awaiting nutrient agar-filled petri dishes.

Grateful acknowledgements to:

Sarah Milroy, Jennifer Withrow, Ian Dejardin, Alison Douglas, Teija Smith, Brittney Sproule, Linda Morita, Alison Reid, Craig Boyko and the McMichael Gallery team.

The Toronto Arts Council

Exhibition Supporters Richard and Donna Ivey; Brad Crombie and Alison Turner,

Publication Supporters: Kaye Beeston, Jessica Bradley, Popsy Johnstone, Shanitha Kachan, Jeanne Parkin, Koyama Provides

Dimitri Levanoff of Imagefoundry

Stuart Keeler who got the ball rolling in 2012 while curator of the Art Gallery of Mississauga.