David Thauberger R.C.A.

Perfectly Natural, 2021

acrylic on canvas
30x40 in.

David Thauberger is known for his paintings of architectural icons of the prairies. Hyper-real, arrestingly bright, his images take on new meaning and defy easy categorization. They are folk-art, pop-art, and kitsch, as well as decidedly serious depictions of places that often no longer exist. Rainbow Danceland, from 1979, in the collection of Calgary’s Glenbow Museum, is well-known to Calgarians and a defining work in Thauberger’s vast oeuvre. Perfectly Natural is a recent work, coming from a series begun in 2015, which deal with the icon of the red canoe set alone in a flat blue lake beneath a landmark mountain in the Canadian Rockies. Not adrift, but still unmanned, these canoes are suspended, untethered, the sitter in a portrait of a familiar Canadian place. As places that are rarely quiet, rarely still, rarely un-peopled, Thauberger comments on the place he paints in a continuation of the dialogue he began with Rainbow Danceland, asking us to consider how we use, reuse, and dispose of iconic Canadian places.

The first thing that catches your eye in a gallery exhibiting the work of David Thauberger is the sheer colour of it. The second thing is its clearness and precision. A closer look is like zooming in to see places usually shown from farther away within the context of the…