Magnetic North is a journey of the mind to the Arctic through the eyes and imaginations of artists, explorers and academics who live there, have travelled there, or been inspired from afar to represent its elusive conditions. Most of us will only ever experience the North through story-telling in all of its forms: film, photography, carving, literature, music, prints and drawings. These mediated representations become the basis for our thoughts and understanding of this secluded place.
Magnetic North is also the story of two very different collections coming together to expand and complicate the Arctic conversation. The Toronto Public Library’s special collections are rich in early maps, illustrated texts and journals, photographs, and ephemera while this selection from TD’s art collection features contemporary Canadian work including very recent Inuit drawings and carvings. Dramatic pairings between these two collections propose that the North is many things.
Diana Thorneycroft, Group of Seven Awkward Moments (Davis Strait), 2007, Courtesy of Michael Gibson Gallery.