DOMINION is the elaborate, ever-expanding, work-in-progress of the renowned Canadian cartoonist Seth. An imagined place combining elements of numerous early modern Canadian cities, DOMINION captures the spirit of the booming small metropolis at a time of community boosterism and growth that, to the contemporary eye, can seem at times quaint and alien. It is a place that embodies the confidence of many Canadian cities in the post-Depression and World War II era when the North American economy expanded, manufacturing spread, and many cities were characterized by a level of civic engagement, through service clubs and politics, unheard of today.
DOMINION is a cartoon space supported by an elaborate narrative vision that includes a detailed history and character studies that can be amusing, but equally dark. DOMINION sits seemingly frozen at the cusp of the 1950s and ‘60s and one can imagine many of Seth’s buildings crumbling and fading in the voracious urban “renewal” of the 1960s to the 1980s. As with all of Seth’s works, DOMINION is infused with melancholy and an air of ambiguous nostalgia tinged with a healthy dose of cynical humour.
DOMINION’s most substantial manifestation is the growing collection of model buildings constructed over the past decade that extend Seth’s distinct vision off the printed page. The installation is circulated by the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery and follows distinct installations curated by Andrew Hunter for Museum London, Ontario; RENDER (University of Waterloo), Ontario; the Dundas Museum & Archives, Ontario; the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, P.E.I.; and the Niagara Artists Centre, Ontario.
SETH is the cartoonist behind the infrequent comic book series Palookaville. Currently he is serializing the story Clyde Fans between its covers. This is a task that has gone on for a decade now and will likely continue for several more years. His books include It’s a Good Life, If you Don’t Weaken; Wimbledon Green; Bannock, Beans and Black Tea and George Sprott 1894-1975. His books have been translated into 9 languages. As a book designer he has worked on a variety of projects including the Penguin reprinting of The Portable Dorothy Parker and a recent deluxe edition of Leacock’s Sunshine sketches of a little town. He is the designer of the 25 volume series The Complete Peanuts and a monograph of the Canadian master cartoonist Doug Wright.
As an illustrator he has produced commercial works for almost all of the major Canadian and American magazines. His work has appeared inside and on the cover of the New Yorker. He won the Harbourfront Festival Prize in 2011. Seth’s books are published by Drawn & Quarterly of Montreal.
SETH: DOMINION is curated by Andrew Hunter. The exhibition is circulated by the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta.