Donate Now

Ottawa artist’s disaster ‘hacks’ of older paintings finds fresh shelter at Diefenbunker

April 4, 2018
Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen

Marc Adornato, Ruined Landscapes
When: April 5 to July 15, vernissage/opening party April 5, 7 to 9 p.m., artist talk May 17
Where: The Diefenbunker Museum, 3929 Carp Rd., Carp
Admission: free to the vernissage, Diefenbunker admission fees apply for the rest of the dates)

A few years ago, Ottawa artist Marc Adornato scoured thrift stores, flea markets and even online ads for antique frames that he would re-use to frame his own works.

Often the recovery process involved throwing out the old paintings that had been framed, but had become damaged or even mouldy over time. Among Adornato’s finds were a few “vintage, kitschy, Bob Ross-style landscape paintings,” the 40-year-old Ottawa native says. “I did find a couple that were really in excellent condition.”

It took one epiphany in early 2016 to make Adornato realize that he could “hack” his finds into new art that was more in line with his own aesthetic. For Adornato, artworks are a vehicle for making pointed social and political critiques.

Inspired by environmental fallout of incidents in Canada such as the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in the summer of 2013, Adornato began painting people in hazmat suits and other signifiers of toxic degradation, such as rolled-over trucks, derailed trains and grounded oil tankers, into the found paintings. Within six months, he had created 30 of them, and his series, called Ruined Landscapes, debuted in the summer for 2016 at the Ottawa Art Gallery.

Read more