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Passion over Reason / la passion avant la raison

Passion over Reason / la passion avant la raison

Passion. Reason. Opposites attract.

It is no secret that Tom Thomson (1877-1917) and Joyce Wieland (1930-1998) never met. Their art could not be further apart stylistically or methodologically. Thomson was a colourist, armed with brushes and oil paints. Wieland was an activist who drew upon an arsenal of wide-ranging contemporary media and whose work is ground-breaking in the annals of feminist art. Yet, Wieland also “burrowed into femininity” and celebrated her attraction to Thomson. Passion Over Reason explores Wieland's and Canada's fascination with Thomson and his status as a cult figure of masculine mystique, while re-examining the mythology of his life story which has cast a virile, woodsy painter as the embodiment of Canadian resilience.

Wieland was an equally heroic artist, as well as a feminist figure who was unapologetic about her sexuality. She established a career as an experimental filmmaker and mixed media artist, working primarily in Toronto but also in New York from 1962 to 1970. In 1971, her exhibition, True Patriot Love, opened at the National Gallery of Canada. It was the Gallery's first solo show of a living Canadian female artist.

Passion Over Reason: Tom Thomson & Joyce Wieland commemorates the art of these two Canadian-born artists, while at the same time contributing a feminist perspective to the long-held narrative of Thomson. Featuring more than 100 reproductions of Thomson's and Wieland's work, the book mixes sexuality and gender with politics, and nature and nationalism with the formation of a collective identity.


Sarah Stanners, is the Director of Curatorial and Collections at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Other contributions include essays by Anna Hudson and Daisy Charles as well as an account of Zachari Logan's artist-in-residence project in Thomson's shack at the McMichael.

164 pages
Pub date: June 12, 2018