Guest Artists: Finding Frida


Finding Frida is a collaboration with many different artists. In addition to Heather Haynes and Virginia Macdonald, the show also features work by:

Whit Montgomery

Whit is a Montreal-based artist who is most interested in creating large-scale satirical propaganda, taking inspiration from old magazines and archived advertisements. He reflects on current social and political happenings through the lenses of past decades, highlighting both the novel and archaic absurdities within contemporary ideologies. In many pieces, Whitney embraces an ironic tone to undermine what he sees as toxic beliefs, which he emphasizes by appropriating their logic and pushing it to the extreme.

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Sue Thomas

As I listen to my music, I contemplate my art doll collection; how to capture the essence of the living subject.

Attention to detail such as expression, eyes - only the best glass eyes are used. Jewelry, custom made clothing in colours carefully chosen, as the subject would wear.

Through posing and expression, I want to capture a moment in time.

I think of their beliefs; what’s important to them…what’s in their soul. That is what I endeavour to show the viewer.

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Jenny Jade

I am a professional tattoo artist and illustrator working from my home studio in the beautiful town of Gananoque Ontario.

After graduating from graphic design in 2016 (St. Lawrence College), I went on to co-found Dead On collective in early 2017 (2017-2018). I started experimenting with drawing and painting through this platform and quickly fell in love. Dedicating as much of myself as I can to the practice ever since. By the end of 2019 I completed a tattoo apprenticeship and have been working independently since 2020 creating tattoos and murals.

As a person, I am constantly working at cultivating my practice and pushing my own boundaries both professionally and personally to bring forth the best art and tattoos I can.

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Deanna Harrington

Deanna Harrington is the creator behind the delicious spread on Opening Night.

She is the co-owner of Riva Restaurant in Gananoque (and Olivea Restaurant in Kingston!) with her husband, Stev George.

Set in a beautifully renovated historic building in Gananoque, The Riva Restaurant (previously The Golden Apple) is carrying on the tradition begun in 1928 of being a welcoming place to stop and refresh.

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Ray Vincent Instruments

As a musical instrument maker, my work is inspired by the beauty of nature and the creative possibilities that come with combining different materials. I specialize in crafting instruments with a shell back and using exquisite woods to create instruments that are not only visually stunning but reflect the essence of the music they produce.

The double-necked instrument in Finding Frida is named "Where The Two Rivers Meet" and is a collaboration with Ray's wife Su Halle, who painted the body. The single neck instrument is named "Surf's Up".

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Virginia Macdonald's Frida journey began in earnest in 2013, after receiving a book about Kahlo's life, art and resilience. Inspired, she conceived a photographic series of women styled in the likeness of Frida to capture their "Inner Frida" and pay homage to Kahlo's powerful legacy. The photos in this series were captured in various countries from Mexico, Chile, China and Canada.

In the autumn of 2022, Macdonald entered into a collaboration project with Heather Haynes, who set out to create a series of paintings featuring Macdonald's photographs.  “Finding Frida” showcases both Macdonald’s arresting photography and Haynes’ ethereal paintings.

From the artists

Artist Statement: Heather Haynes

Frida Kahlo has always been there… in her beauty in the millions of reproductions around the world. A phenomenon in this sense… no other female artist is known by her image instantly, like my new friend Frida. 

My journey began in late July, 2022 when some collector/friends brought their “photographer” friend, Virginia Macdonald, to see my new gallery space in Gananoque.  

Virginia and I became fast friends. She visited me a few weeks later and she shared her incredible body of work inspired by Frida Kahlo.  I mentioned that I would love to collaborate and she instantly said yes.  It was more a knowing then anything else… I actually can’t remember exactly how it happened, but it was clear that it was right and we would move forward. Virginia shared her images with me…and I began cleaning my studio to set the stage for inviting Virginia and Frida into my space.

When you invite Frida into your energy field and creative space… she doesn’t come knocking… she literally bowled me over.  I in turn, gave my soul over to her. I spent many months in relationship with Frida and Virginia, but in January, 2023 I asked Virginia if she would release any expectation she may have on the outcome of the paintings (this was for me, not for Virginia - she had clearly let this happen already!)  Once I felt I could let loose, I gave myself over to Frida. I literally invited her into collaboration.  Days would pass and I would be in my studio until late at night…. I couldn’t pull away, and why would I? I finally cracked the code of creating time and space to allow spirit to fully transform into my work. I was the vessel.  No one else was there, not even my critical mind.  I was in a flow state for 6 straight weeks.  Eventually, I had to pull myself away.  Another show/commitment needed to be hung/ hosted and infused with my focus and energy.  Those 6 weeks brought forth in me something I hadn’t allowed to fully take place before… I had met this spirit before and called upon it many times, but with boundaries and timelines (I am a mother, wife, daughter, friend and founder of a non-profit).  I know how to find it now; all I need to do is set my intention, create space around it, and boom!  

So Frida...I can’t say I know her, but I felt her inside me.  I often wonder, who was Frida channelling?  It’s clear to me that we all have access to energy friends, gods, spirit, quantum fields, vortexes… many realms I am not familiar with or need to understand… because, to understand it would be to not know it at all.  Trying to figure it out would be the stalling space… when I am creating, I don’t need to know, I need only surrender and allow… 

Let us all find our inner Frida!

Artist Statement: Virginia Macdonald

Power of the Heart

I did not want to shoot this. I did not want to do a project on Frida Kahlo.

Her iconography as a woman, almost sainted, was everywhere. From coffee mugs, pillow cases to halloween costumes I felt like her personhood was too commodified to be of serious interest.

I didn’t have a choice. I was, I am, compelled.

She does not disappoint.

This show is about the strength of the human heart.

What I’ve discovered is that her work, her art on canvas or tin or whatever medium she could use was so much more than just a painting. Her work is in story telling, her thoughts, opinions, her life that was as honest as to be uncomfortable.
She channelled the very deepest thoughts and desires of her soul and laid them bare.

As I was photographing these people, I’ve discovered that they all felt the same thing.
The peculiar challenges it is to be a woman in this day.
The love, the heartbreak, the folly of being of this world but also not agreeing with its’ violence, war, greed and hatred.
The ability to create new life and the heartbreak that comes with bearing or not bearing children.
By dressing up, by pretending, they found their own authenticity in Frida’s bravery to be simply and authentically themselves. You can see it in their eyes.

At best, you will feel this. At worst, they are pretty photographs.