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Pfliger, Terry
Thom Thomson and the Old Guard behind Time
1976

Artist Terry Pfliger had noted, upon moving to Kingston from Michigan in 1970, that romantic paintings of falling down barns were in high demand. There was public outcry when Kosso Eloul’s Time was installed on the shore of Lake Ontario for Kingston’s tercentenary in 1973. Not all Kingstonians were ready to share civic space with abstact contemporary art, which spurred Pfliger to create this diorama. Plastic soldiers (or artists behind the times) furiously produce and protect barn paintings as reactionary defence tactics against Time. Thom Thomson is a deliberate misspelling of the early twentieth-century, now Canadian legendary, artist’s name. Thomson is like Time, representing an art form once criticised and later revered. A transmuted (perhaps misunderstood) Tom Thomson is co-opted by the old guard in its attack against another avant-garde.With wit and irony, Pfliger teases an alternative narrative- one that nonetheless has a ring of truth- out of current events and regional observation. In the aesthetic of Tom Thomson are the roots of Pfliger’s later interest in archaeology, burial and excavation. As he says in a later artist’s statement, “I am concerned with historical dislocation.”

 
Pfliger, Terry
born St. Joseph, Michigan,1947; died Bridgman, Michigan 2016
Thom Thomson and the Old Guard behind Time
1976
mixed media (foam rubber, latex rubber, acrylic, balsa wood, stone, paint, and plastic scale models)
110.6 x 110.6 cm
Commissioned, 1976
19-100

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