Joanne Tod

Joanne Tod
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Notable work
Oh, Canada – A Lament (2007 - 2011)
MovementPostmodern[2]: 171 

Joanne Tod (R.C.A.)[3] (born 1953 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada) is a Canadian contemporary artist and lecturer whose paintings are included in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada,[4] the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal.[5]: 465 

Early Work[]

Shortly after graduating from the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University), Tod was included in the exhibition YYZ Monumenta in 1982, an exhibition that spread over six spaces in Toronto's Queen Street West neighbourhood: A.R.C., Gallery 76, Grunwald Gallery, Mercer Union, Studio 620, and YYZ Artists' Outlet. This exhibition became a pivotal moment for the young painter's career, launching her "from relative obscurity of the Queen Street West artist-run centres into considerable national attention."[6]

Tod is among a group of artists working in Toronto in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the Queen Street West neighbourhood, where Canadian artists across the country migrated, creating an energetic art community in the city.[7] She has become known for her figurative paintings from photographs, using irony to challenge stereotypes, expose vulnerabilities and unsettle assumptions about women, race and social status.[8]: 226  Her technical range as a painter was acknowledged early in her career and she uses her skill to surprise viewers by juxtaposing incongruous objects with well-executed representational images.[8]

Recent Work[]

In his review of Tod's 2000 exhibition entitled "The Republic of Private" at Toronto's Sable-Castelli Gallery, The Globe and Mail art critic Gary Michael Dault described Tod's paintings as "dizzying realism" with "high sensuous, mative brushwork that abstracts its subject at the very same time as it nails it down."[9] Dault calls Tod a virtuoso, with meticulously detailed enigmatic paintings that are "lushly crafted." But the paintings are at times unexpectedly wry, with subtle jokes and puzzles.[10] In her series entitled "Oh, Canada — a Lament" (2007 - 2011) Tod painted 121 small portraits of Canadians who died in Afghanistan.[11] The Walrus published the series as a visual essay in 2011.[12] Tod, who has worked in collaboration with the Gardiner Museum for years and was familiar with their historical ceramics collection, decorated a series of plates featuring contemporary figures and themes from popular culture while using visual references to the historical works. In the exhibition entitled "Invited Invasion," her ceramics were interspersed with the historical collection, hiding objects in plain sight and challenging ways of seeing in the traditional museum setting. As a feminist she drew attention to the fact that historically, women were not the producers of the ceramics themselves; they were only allowed to decorate them.[13]


Tod lectures at the Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto.[14]

In 2020 she appeared as a judge on Landscape Artist of the Year Canada.[15]

Selected public exhibitions[]



Canada Council Project Grant, 2011

Canada Council Senior Artist Creation/Production Grant, 2000

Ontario Arts Council, Senior Artist Grant, Research/Production, 1993

Canada Council B Grant, 1983

Ontario Arts Council Project Grant, 1983


  1. ^ "Joanne Tod". Canadian Heritage Information Network. 13 November 1987. Archived from the original on 24 July 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2015. updated 10 June 2011
  2. ^ Hans Bertens; Douwe W. Fokkema, eds. (1997). International Postmodernism: Theory and literary practice. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 581.
  3. ^ "Biography Joanne Tod". Toronto, Ontario: Metivier Gallery. nd. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Joanne Tod: Artist's Documentation File". Ottawa, Ontario: National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives. nd. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  5. ^ Charmaine Nelson; Camille Antoinette Nelson (1 January 2004). "Racism, Eh?: A Critical Inter-disciplinary Anthology of Race and Racism in Canada". Captus Press. p. 465. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  6. ^ Bentley Mays, John (15 September 1984). "Warning paintings' wrestle with glamor". The Globe and Mail.
  7. ^ Monk, Philip (1998). Picturing the Toronto art community: The Queen Street years. Toronto: The Power Plant. p. 1.
  8. ^ a b David Burnett (1990). Masterpieces of Canadian Art. Ottawa, Ontario: Hurtig. p. 230. ISBN 0888303440.
  9. ^ Dault, Gary Michael (9 September 2000). "Tod's new show a virtuoso performance". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  10. ^ Dault, Gary Michael (12 December 2009). "A convincing replication of reality and its layers". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  11. ^ Rhodes, Richard (2012), Joanne Tod and the Return of the Funny Girl, retrieved 16 September 2015
  12. ^ "Portraits of the War: Remembering the Canadians lost in the Afghanistan war". The Walrus. July 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  13. ^ Isherwood, Barbara (October 2012), Interview with Joanne Tod, retrieved 16 September 2015
  14. ^ "Joanne Tod". The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto. nd. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  15. ^ Dana Gee, "Top British landscape TV hit gets a fresh coat of Canadian paint". Vancouver Sun, February 13, 2020.
  16. ^ Ann Newlands, ed. (2000). 2000 Canadian Art – From its Beginnings to 2000. Firefly Books. pp. 355. ISBN 9781552094501.
  17. ^ "Nicholas Metivier Gallery". Retrieved 5 March 2016.