Liz Pead has found a unique way to fuse two of her passions – art and hockey – through Breaking the Ice, which is now on display at the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum's (EAGM) Gallery No. 1.
In Pead's exhibit, used hockey equipment meets landscape paintings that pay homage to famed Canadian artists The Group of Seven. Pead, who is based out of Toronto, explained her concept for the installation at an EAGM reception on January 16.
“I started in 2005 with my thesis at the Ontario College of Art,” said Pead. “I wanted to learn how to paint like the Group of Seven – that's what I went there for – and I got close.”
But she wanted a way to put a Canadian spin on her work, and hockey was a natural, she said. She spotted some trashed hockey equipment during a recreation hockey game a few years ago, and had a brainstorm: take the equipment and affix it to her landscape paintings.
“I kept picking up all this broken hockey gear, and it turns out that it's a pretty Canadian material to make art from,” Pead said with a laugh.
Pead is a recreation league goaltender who coaches her children's hockey teams, and she spends many hours each week at hockey arenas.
She has three sprawling landscape paintings that incorporate the equipment. Each pays tribute to a famous moment in Canadian history: the Louis Riel-led North-West Rebellion in Saskatchewan in 1885; the disappearance of famed Canadian artist Tom Thomson in 1917; and the plane crash that killed Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Bill Barilko in 1951.
“I wanted to make a statement about history, where the landscape intersects our culture,” said Pead.
As part of the Riel display, she and a friend created a play-by-play of the North-West Rebellion as if it were a hockey game.
Breaking the Ice also features several smaller framed submissions with hockey equipment and landscape paintings, and multiple structures created with hockey gear. People can sit in one of them – a canoe crafted with goalie paraphernalia.
Pead hopes that people will be able to connect with the exhibit, and reflect on the significance of hockey on Canadians' national identity.
She's thrilled with how the exhibit looks in the EAGM, as she has never had so much room for Breaking the Ice.
Pead also guided a workshop with several members of the Estevan Bruins on January 15. The Bruin players took used hockey equipment and brought it together to resemble a couple of trees. Pead dressed like a referee during the workshop.
She said she had a lot of fun with the players.
“I always try to do something with the community, with the hockey community especially, because it's a good way to meet them, and it's a good way to let them know that there are people outside of the hockey community interested in what they're doing,” said Pead.
Breaking the Ice will remain at the EAGM until February 26.