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What painter Carol Wainio is watching, reading and looking forward to

Carol Wainio’s exhibition Stories, Seasons is up until Nov. 11 at Paul Petro Contemporary Art.

Martin Lipman/Canada Council for the Arts

Ask the painter Carol Wainio what she does and she'll tell you she works within the "many universes that open each time one takes up a brush in the face of centuries of art history, and in a medium repeatedly declared dead and revived." Her exhibition Stories, Seasons can currently be seen at Paul Petro Contemporary Art. We asked the Ottawa-based artist about her current fixations.

What she's watching: "I'm catching up on Alias Grace and will definitely keep watching. Also saw the Ken Burns's PBS series on the Vietnam War. I'm married to someone whose number was called just before the draft ended, and whose older brother did two tours. It's a powerful, timely documentary – important for a general and younger audience and particularly poignant for those who are now of an age when remembrance takes on new valence and there are few public ways to mark such a traumatic, historical event."

What she's reading: "Mark Lilla's The Reckless Mind, reflections on selected philosophers' political views. It's also timely, and while I appreciate many of Lilla's insights in other writings, I must confess to a bit of the same 'lover's disappointment' described as the motive for the book. Still, worthwhile, interesting, timely and weirdly related to the documentary and exhibits I'm feeding on."

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What she's looking forward to: "The Guillermo del Toro and Mark Lewis exhibits at the AGO, which seem potentially contradictory and complementary – Lewis's austere, cerebral dissections of the moving image and public history, and del Toro's baroque, over-the-top, manifestations of the monstrous vernacular. I'm interested in high culture/low culture, material history and folk tradition, so I look forward to digesting these shows at the same time. Overindulgence and palette cleanser, or vice versa."

Carol Wainio's exhibition Stories, Seasons is up until Nov. 11 at Paul Petro Contemporary Art, 980 Queen St. W., Toronto, 416-979-7874 or

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