ABOUT NATALIE KAUFFMAN
Natalie holds an MA in Education (Arts Specialization) from OISE (@ UofT), and a BFA in Studio Art and Art History from Concordia University in Montreal. As well, she earned a Professional Photography Certificate from the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana. She’s exhibited in Toronto, Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Martha’s Vineyard. Her art is in private collections around the globe, as well as published internationally.
With a deep interest in arts education and community arts programming, Natalie has worked as an artist educator at Harbourfront Centre, Learning Through the Arts (Royal Conservatory), and was the Education Director for Blank Canvases, Education Manager at Station Gallery and Director of Outreach at Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design. She's led numerous teacher training classes and workshops for the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic School Board and has presented at conferences such as the Canadian Association for Young Children, the Dean's Graduate Student Research Conference at OISE, and the LTTA International Teaching Institute Spring Conference, to name a few.
She is based in Toronto, Canada. Available for commissioned work.
About my work
So much of my work is about looking beneath or looking beyond what we see, or what is chosen for us to see.
In my Beauty of Abandonment series (photography), I focused on things that were not there any longer but had been; traces of humankind, ghosts of lives lived or still lurking somewhere, and the allure of these deserted places. In my food photograph series, I look beneath or under vegetables and fruit, the parts that we so often toss away, to reveal the wonder of shape, form, colour, contrast and magnificence of what we consume, often so much without a thought about the incredible sources of life these living things are. The Bones series in encaustic is about stripping away layers (literally) to reveal the way in which we as humans are built, structured and developed. Without skin colour, weight, hair colour, eye colour, we are essentially the same beings; when we look beneath we are more in common than different.
My series, Packaged Landscapes or “CanScapes” as I like to call them, is digging deeper into the meaning, the myths, the history of “Canadian” culture, nostalgia and products. While I have a fondness for Canadiana, I cannot help but find the contradictions, the problematic narratives and the distorted interpretations of our consumerist, colonialist past and present. I hope that by experiencing my art you experience an aesthetic sensation that is at once intriguing and yet slightly unsettling in the way the work sits with you; a contradiction of what is known and what lies beneath. This was preceded by my "Memoryscapes" series, where I painted scenes large onto wood panels from small little scenes on cans or packages. By doing this, I wanted to explore ways in which we remember scenes from ordinary food packaging that we saw daily, a long time ago, and which can evoke feelings and memories, that perhaps are not really ours but what are manufactured for us by marketers and advertisers,
Then there's my Butter Tarts series - or Butter Tart Art as I like to playfully call it. Just like the pasty itself, it is rich, super sweet and delicious...but carries a lot of weight. Food is personal and political; it holds history, connotations and meaning. As I paint, I uncover more to this iconic "Canadian" treat, and it's colonial past. To really paint something, I believe you have to understand where it came from. This process is helping me learn about my home, myself and my discomfort. I hope it's helping me to become a better observer and listener too.