Black Boots: A Study of Canadian Heritage
Liza Visagie, Black Boots, Oil on Linen, 28 x 22”
A feature piece in our upcoming Canadian and International Contemporary Auction is of an everyday object in Canadian culture, a pair of riding boots belonging to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Presented as a work of high art, the black leather boots are depicted against a vivid crimson background, capturing strong memories of Canada’s past and contemporary future.
Liza Visagie has meticulously rendered in realistic detail this pair of riding boots, with the glossy surface of the black leather and the small creases along the ankles acting as focal points to the eye. At a quick glance, the boots seem virtually identical in appearance, yet the right one is positioned slightly forward into the foreground of the painting while the stitching along the back of the left boot appears to have come undone, suggesting that they have experienced wear and tear in the line of duty. Liza Visagie draws inspiration from her surroundings, focusing on observational skill to reflect on an object’s character and personality, in this case a pair of simple leather boots.
Although the tall boots dominate the work and cast a dramatic shadow against the bold backdrop, the red background is significant itself by strongly recalling the scarlet colour of the Canadian flag. The painting uniquely combines the traditional and the modern, with Visagie relying on traditional oil painting techniques, a limited colour palette, and a stark composition to reinvent emblematic symbols of our national identity.
Canada’s federal police force, better known as the ‘Mounties’, are today universally recognized by their distinctive uniform comprised of a red jacket, wide-brimmed hat, riding breeches and boots, which together function as an enduring symbol of Canadian identity and unity. The RCMP were originally established by the Parliament of Canada in May 1873 to implement the law in the newly acquired western territories and has since then evolved into a world-renowned organisation. Visagie’s painting, bridging traditional and contemporary approaches, is a bold celebration of Canadian history and heritage.
View this work and others at our upcoming Auction Preview:
FRIDAY, NOV 8th | 12-6PM
SATURDAY, NOV 9th | 10AM-5PM
SUNDAY, NOV 10th | 10AM-5PM
MONDAY, NOV 11th | 12-6PM
Re-visit the YKLM Blog section to see more Object Spotlights for our upcoming live auction on November 12th at Lipont Place in Richmond.
Written by Catherine Lacroix