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