1958 – 2001
Reid Diamond was an artist, musician and writer. He lived in Toronto from 1978 until his death. He was born in Steinback, Manitoba. Because of his father’s career in the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), he spent his childhood and early teens moving with his family around Manitoba, and then, in the early 70s, they settled in Calgary, Alberta. Diamond moved to Toronto with his instrumental rock band, the Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, who became a fixture of the Toronto music scene. Diamond graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1988, and with a few fellow OCA graduates created the art collective Place and Show Artists’ Projects. Their installation exhibitions were presented in non-gallery locations including StreetCity and the Dufferin Mall, both in Toronto, and at the Embassy Cultural House in London, Ontario. He joined Persona Volare in 1999 and was in the 2000 exhibition.
He worked at the Art Gallery of Ontario in the 80s, worked at Mercer Union and, later on, was on Mercer Union’s Board of Directors, where he co-curated two series of exhibitions: Faking History (1999) with Mary Anne Barkhouse, and then Spider Sense (1997-98) with Evelyn Von Michaelofski. In 2000, he co-curated Beaver Tales at Oakville Galleries, with Marnie Fleming. Diamond exhibited his work in Ontario and in Canada.
Writing was a central part of Diamond’s practice. He was a storyteller and he created installations that became the story, both physically and metaphorically. He increasingly incorporated and used ellusive materials and media including projections, vinyl lettering and chalk, and, as a result, his works grew more and more ephemeral. He projected stories such as TransCanada/TransCanadienne for Persona Volare 2000, and, that same year created Chalk Lines, in which he chalked a series of stories onto sidewalks of downtown neighbourhoods in English, Mohawk, Vietnamese and Spanish. He wrote essays and reviews and contributed many articles, reviews and energy to Lola magazine throughout its production.
Diamond continued to be a musician and a performer, and after the Shadowy Men stopped performing, he formed a new instrumental band called Phono-Comb. Diamond performed for Mercer Union’s Lip-Synch events and fundraisers as April Showers, a guitar-playing drag act. In 1999/2000, he started Motion Machine with fellow artist and musician Daniel Bowden. Motion Machine was a live music film experience, that was presented in gallery and bar locations in Toronto and Montreal. Motion Machine was included in the exhibition Substitute City at The Power Plant, and in Calgary for the Mountain Standard Time Film Festival. Both exhibitions occurred in 2001, after Reid’s death. His friend and fellow musician Brian Connelly performed for him at these events. His work for Persona Cantare 2003 was a collaboration with Rebecca Diederichs, planned, in part, before he died. It’s form evolved but its intention remained. TransCanada/TransCanadienne was exhibited for the Canadian Club exhibitions both in Paris, France and in St.Catharines, Ontario in 2005.