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Ondaatje, Kim
Lake Ontario Cement
1970

As an artist, filmmaker and cultural and environmental advocate, Ondaatje made an indelible mark on the Canadian art world. In 2009, she received a Governor General’s Award for her outstanding contribution in co-founding Canadian Artists’ Representation (CAR, now CARFAC), which continues to advocate for fair compensation of culture workers. Her own painting, printmaking and films investigate issues of individual and collective import, whether exploring personal and domestic spheres or widening the scope of the Canadian landscape tradition.

Lake Ontario Cement launched Kim Ondaatje’s Factory series (1970-1974). The subject matter stems from a summer family vacation in Prince Edward County, Ontario, where Ondaatje noticed a pervasive white fall-out dust. Determined to locate the source, she came across Lake Ontario Cement Company near Picton. In the fall of 1970, she decided to paint the factory, returning to the site to sketch and take photographs. Thereafter, Ondaatje regular packed her growing family into a station wagon and drove to various industrial sites around Ontario. Lake Ontario Cement shares the same vertical dimensions with paintings in her preceding The House on Piccadilly Street series and, as Dennis Reid points out, “has a similarly light-hued, ghostly colouration, playing the man-made forms against the atmosphere and landscape elements in a way that also stresses the emphatic geometry of industry.” The last and most renowned of her art series, the Factory works are as relevant today as they were over four decades ago.

 
Ondaatje, Kim
Toronto ON 1928
Lake Ontario Cement
1970
acrylic and mixed media on canvas
142.5 x 193.0 cm
Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund and Donald Murray Shepherd Bequest Fund, 2016
58-015

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