Microbes Swabbed From a Palette Used By Tom Thomson, Microbes Swabbed From a Palette Used By A.J. Casson, Microbes Swabbed From a Palette Used By Frederick Varley
An intervention for the exhibition Genius Loci, at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, curated by Stuart Keeler. Three painting palettes were borrowed from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, objects formerly belonging to (and handled by) notable historic Canadian landscape painters Tom Thomson, A.J. Casson and Frederick Varley.
Using a sterile cotton swab, living microscopic organisms were removed from the surface of the palettes and transferred to three petri dishes, where they were grown for the duration of the show. This is not the grandiose and majestic "nature" depicted by Canada's iconic landsape painters, rather it is the far more quotidian nature of bacteria, mould and viruses that we more often encounter.
Petri dishes containing live microbes were displayed at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, and a photo series was made at the end.