Clint Roenisch Gallery
190 St Helens Ave, Toronto, Canada
25 May – 1 July, 2023
“The stitching itself must be my language, the first—the cosy one—similar to my Hungarian.”
Anna Torma was born in 1952 in Tarnaors, Hungary and graduated with a degree in Textile Art and Design from the Hungarian University of Applied Arts, Budapest, in 1979. She immigrated to Canada in 1988 and has lived and worked in Baie Verte, New Brunswick since 2002. In mounting Torma’s extraordinary 2018 show at the Esker Foundation, curator Shauna Thompson noted, “As a descendant of generations of skilled needleworkers and embroiderers, Anna Torma produces work that is both rooted in a deep Hungarian textile tradition and is also part of a vibrant contemporary practice connected to radical feminist avant-garde movements of the 1960s and 70s, which reclaimed craft and fibre-based work as urgent and political fine art practices.”
Torma has described herself as a “spiritual keeper of memories” and (rightly) believes that “there are endless stories in a little piece of fabric”. Her evocative tapestries are vivid, teeming repositories of a life being fully lived, remembered and reimagined through her practice. Torma also draws upon Hungarian folklore, science, ancient mythology, the splendour and fertility of the natural world, family history and domestic life, the fantastical drawings of children, Medieval tapestry, Art Brut and folk art, to name but a few of her sources. “For me, it has always been compelling to observe how seemingly different kinds and forms of knowledge interact with each other. I see similarities, for example, between the explanatory drawings used by young students who struggle to understand and make sense of the world, and a microbiologist’s research for virus solutions, and between a child’s images and those from myth and legend. These convergences and the infinite hope and dialogue they offer inform much of my work.”
The recipient of many grants and awards in Canada and abroad, Torma is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, a recipient of the New Brunswick Lieutenant- Governor’s Award for High Achievement in Visual Arts, and the Strathbutler Award from the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation. In 2020 Torma won the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts – Saidye Bronfman Award. This award recognizes exceptional artists who have shaped the field of craft in Canada. Torma has exhibited her work internationally and is represented in many public collections, including: the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; RBC; Owens Art Gallery, Sackville; La Peau de l’Ours, Montreal; Foreign Affairs Art Collection, Ottawa; MSVU Art Gallery, Halifax; New Brunswick Art Bank, Fredericton; and Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Charlotte, North Carolina.