Wainio, Carol

Carol Wainio, Tortoise and Hare, 2013.


Tortoise and Hare

Tortoise and Hare explores various narrative, genre, and framing relationships that can be drawn between nineteenth-century studio photography and early illustration, through the device of a well-known fable. As well as suggesting references to the speeding up of all aspects of contemporary life, the tortoise-and-hare metaphor is often used in relation to banking and investment–an area of increasing speed and risk. The figure riding the tortoise is a reference to existing archival photos of Walter Rothschild (reluctant financier of the Rothschild family) riding his pet tortoise.

Acrylic on canvas,
  • 2013
91.4 x 121.9 cm



Carol Wainio has exhibited widely in Canada and abroad, including at the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Stedelijk Museum, the Venice Biennale, and the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna in Bologna, as well as in the U.S. and China. Her paintings are represented in major corporate, private, and public collections, including the National Gallery, the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Glenbow Museum, and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa.

Her work explores the role that painting can still play in opening up a discursive space around narrative, history, material culture, globalization and environment, reproduction, art and commodity, and various historical forms of representation—“high art,” political, or vernacular. The paintings draw together diverse references, including historical illustrators such as J. J. Grandville, research in the Walter Benjamin Children’s Book Collection and other archives, early advertisements based on fairy tales, and archival and contemporary photographs—to investigate and re-stage narratives of transformation, commodification, and desire that pose questions about the present, the long-ago, and the far-away.