Toni Hamel’s humorous and surreal paintings tell a meaningful story
Humanity and its relation to nature is the main focus in Toni Hamel’s series of paintings titled ‘The land of Id,’ and its follow-up series titled ‘High tides and misdemeanors.’ Tonai an Italian born, now Toronto-based artist uses these paintings to explore themes of overconsumption and mankind’s effects on nature. In the title of the series ‘The land of Id,’ the term Id is referring to the part of our psycho that is our ego, it’s the part of us that is responsible for our desire for immediate satisfaction which in turn leads to our overconsumption.
In the painting titled ‘Opening Night,’ we see a killer whale being lowered by two men into a way too small of a pool. Hamel does not paint realistic depictions of our society but tells a story through surreal comparisons to reality. While some works like ‘Opening Night’ feel very easy to interpret, it’s shining a light on the way we have put animals into captivity, often in smaller cages and tanks than needed, and used them as entertainment. In another work titled ‘Facsimile’, the meaning is not as obvious on first viewing, we see two men painting a sculpture of a mountain that covers an entire table.
As the works often speak on very serious topics they do so in a humorous manner. While some take time to fully understand and find the meaning each one has a playfulness. It’s this aspect of her works which makes it so easy to enjoy and connect, she has found a way to convey a meaningful message through comedy and beautiful art without taking away from the bigger story.
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