First Snow, 1998
artificial snow over objects in room, installation
First Snow was a site-specific installation in the Tom Thomson Shack at the McMichael Canadian Art Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario. Inspired by the iconic Canadian painter’s practice of working en plein air, Clark Espinal brought the outdoors in, and covered everything in the shack, exactly as found, with a layer of artificial snow. Viewed through the windows of the shack, the installation transformed the abandoned interior into a whimsically snowy scene, evocative of the enchanted dormancy of winter. By creating an artificial scene within the historical artist’s former home/studio, Clark Espinal suggestively plays with our notions of myth-making and the use of relics as markers of authenticity.
Originally located in Toronto’s Rosedale Ravine, Tom Thomson rented the shack from Dr. James McCallum and Lawren Harris for one dollar a month. He lived there during the winters of 1914-16. Acquired by Robert and Signe McMichael, the shack was moved to its present location in 1962.