Group of Seven, 91" X 61", Acrylic & oil pastel on framed canvas, 2015
Canadiana considers the closer historical and contemporary environment of the Vancouver-born and currently based artist. Compiling and sampling national symbols, identities from the Canadian canon, Dixon reserves equal reverence for the low and the high brow. Interpreted through the irreverent eye and loose gestural hand of the artist, Canadiana strikes a unique tone of tongue-in-cheek sincerity.
Group of Seven by Dixon adopts a well-known photograph of the painters, characteristically sober, gathered around a starkly set conference table. Dixon’s recognizable bold colors and blunt and abstracted interpretation of figures hover uncomfortably around the scene. Co-mingling with the group is a compilation of Canadian art references that seem to be pulled out of a Google image search for “Canadian art.” The artist’s mix of cross and self-reference to Canadiana works to effectively collapse the stratification of the Canadian art historical atlas.
Layers of reference serve to act only as false starts, their surface meanings continually circling back to the image put in front of the viewer. Dixon paints a practice of paradox. Oscillating between desire and rejection of the subject, of Canadian identity. The artist allows a discordance to exist which feels, for the moment, altogether harmonious.