Passion Over Reason: Tom Thomson and Joyce Wieland

full book design
Client: McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Author:  Sarah Stanners, with essays by Anna Hudson and Daisy Charles
Artists: Tom Thomson, Joyce Wieland, and Zachari Logan
The inspiration for this fully billingual art book – a cross between an exhibition catalogue and an artist’s bookwork – was Wieland’s own use of a governmental botany report as the catalogue for her solo show at the National Gallery of Canada in 1971, using clips and stickers alongside the artworks of Thomson and Wieland. Vellum overlays of Zachari Logan’s blue pencil drawings from his Ditch series are layered over the pages as a further intervention.

The jacket shows a Thomson painting with a diecut window revealing a film still from Wieland’s film homage to Thomson, The Far Shore. Nine vellum sheets printed with Logan’s artwork, and a gatefold of the exhibition installation of Thomson sketches against Wieland’s quilt work of landscape ‘paintings,’ add dimension to this complex printed work.

Although the book incorporates three informative essays, about half the book pages rely on art and archival materials to tell the story. Perhaps the most challenging aspect for me was to work out a visual narrative that best captured in book form the ideas, form, and spirit of the physical show crafted by the curator, Dr. Sarah Stanners.