Arts & Culture

Sarah Hatton’s work explores lake in Canadian psyche

Chelsea artist Sarah Hatton has created a sensual, otherworldly body of work that explores the place of the lake in the Canadian psyche. Paul Gessell spoke with Hatton about her series, Lake Fever.

Skinny dip La Verendrye, Sarah Hatton
Skinny dip La Verendrye, Sarah Hatton

The title: Lake Fever is an excellent Tragically Hip song that musically says a lot of the things I’m enjoying with this series. The Tragically Hip are extremely Canadian.”

The fever: “Canadians spend all this time, very intensely and short-lived, at the lake. There are only a couple of good months when we can do all this. So there’s literally that feverish aspect.”

The cottage ritual: “That’s one of the things that drew me to this project — figuring out what it is that brings people back year after year. It’s a place you go to isolate yourself, but together with others. I have always loved that. People go to be alone — together.”

The paintings: “They’re definitely based on things I saw, things I participated in, but pieced together from a variety of other sources as well. They’re like collages. I wanted the paintings to be extremely familiar but also foreign so they can lead you into the ‘where am I?’ ”

Channelling Tom Thomson: “When I was 13 years old, I went to the National Gallery with my school class. The little tiny paint sketches by Thomson got me immediately. I couldn’t look away. They were magic.”

Tangled Garden, Sarah Hatton
Tangled Garden, Sarah Hatton

 Hatton’s paintings are available at Galerie St-Laurent + Hill, 293 Dalhousie St.