Although it was begun long after the artist left Bridgetown and completed in Toronto after a hiatus of several years, this landscape is the most recent painting in the Ken Tolmie’s Bridgetown Series. The view looks across the Annapolis Valley towards the North Mountain. Like all of the artist’s Bridgetown works, this painting contains a narrative element: the barn is the home of a fundamentalist congregation, and in the distance is the Baptist church to which most of Bridgetown’s inhabitants belong. This juxtaposition of establishment and radical places of worship signals the considerable material differences between the congregation: the dilapidated, earth-toned barn contrasts sharply with the gleaming, almost fairy-tale church. However, the viewer is also made aware of the power of perspective to transform social relations: the proximity of the barn gives it a solid materiality, while the distant church appears insubstantial, almost part of the landscape.

Born Again Barn is one of several Bridgetown Series paintings to be featured in Ken Tolmie’s film Painting Hilda (Tolmie Productions, 2001).

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