Bio – Diana Thorneycroft

Diana Thorneycroft is a Winnipeg artist who has exhibited work across the world.  Her work frequently incorporates iconic images into new artistic contexts.  The series “Group of Seven Awkward Moments” dramatizes accidents, disasters and bad weather against the backdrop of the Group of Seven’s famed landscape paintings.  The series “There Must Be 50 Ways to Kill Your Lover” makes use of pencil drawings of cartoon plush toys in scenes of violence and romantic disintegration.  As a consequence, questions about copyright infringement are never far off.  While some of Thorneycroft’s collaborators have been sanguine about her work’s incorporation of popular imagery from contemporary consumer culture, others have been fearful of legal consequences.  On the advice of a copyright lawyer, Thorneycroft decided against showing some pieces from “50 Ways to Kill Your Lover” in the touring exhibition Foul Play.  Robert Enright wrote an article about her decision for the Globe and Mail that, ironically, was able to include the controversial images thanks to the exemption of news reporting from copyright violation.  The controversy attracted international attention and brought allies to Thorneycroft’s cause.  She no longer fears a cease and desist letter.  Says Thorneycroft, “I’m a firm believer that artists should be allowed to comment on contemporary culture, which is fraught with imagery.  Advertisers shove this stuff down our throats, but if we turn around and use it in our work, they threaten to sue us and accuse us of breaking the law.  Seems to me you can’t have it both ways.”