STEADY, 101.6 x 152.4 cm / 40" x 60", digital print on polypropylene (infra-red imaging), 2018


all this talk about the fate of Earth has nothing to do with the planet’s tolerance for higher temperatures and everything to do with our species’ tolerance for self-delusion.

Nathaniel Rich

RatKind is a series that offers a story of transformation, born itself from a widening narrative that becomes increasingly conscious of the bankrupt state of nature and society and the desire to enable change. It began with the narrative series Jane's Journey in 2008. Jane was built from memories shaped by Dick and Jane readers and a geographical pilgrimage through the artist's own past. She served as an archetype, designed to project a questionable type of idealized femininity—created and codified by the media and entertainment of the 20th Century—into the 21st Century. She quickly found herself to be a burden on her creator and met her demise in 2016 in the series La mort tragique et prématurée de Jane. She was re-created through a pulp-fiction style trauma, in which her subconscious, taking the pernicious figure of a rat, awakens her to an unbearable truth she had been suppressing. The life she had been leading is transformed by a broader understanding of human nature and nature. Is is not pretty, not easy, but with it comes a new level of empathy, acceptance, and resolve. This is RatKind.

Our garden was lost: the self-sustaining environment where lions and lambs lay together, where blame and shame did not exist. RatKind’s garden exists in a surreal place beyond our inevitable ecological collapse: it portrays an unlikely, utopian/dystopian future of Boschian delights where all forms of intelligence—animal and vegetable—exist naked, accepted, nurtured and nurturing, hopeful. Rats, surviving on our garbage, have evolved with us, in vice and virtue: able to smile, to giggle, able to murder, able to empathize, able sacrifice to save one other, or languish in addiction. We loath them as our stygian mirror. We fear them as carriers of disease even as we rely on them for 95% of our laboratory experiments. Developed from my para-autobiographical Jane series, the rat is a manifestation of our subconscious, a totemic persona representing repressed knowledge that forms a barrier of willful self-delusion. Can we see beyond the face of a thing to the heart of a being? Can we take back the garden?

Artist’s Statement

I believe in bold colours and strong images made subtle through layers of content, drawing from past, present and imagined futures. I would rather see these layers as opportunities, evidence of the simultaneity, synchronicity, serendipity that abounds in life. Most of my practice has been para-autobiographical, applying the freeing premise of a parallel self to pull tendrils of influence toward my work, absorbing the rich, varied, beautiful and absurd into some coherent narrative, trying to make sense of my world.

For RatKind, my most recent series, photography and video sessions were taken over the summer in my garden, a secluded Val-David setting. Artists/actors, friends and others wearing a rat mask were given broad parameters for poses and actions, all drawing from personal experience in response to the notion of "trouble in paradise." Regular digital and infrared cameras were used as well as drone photography. Along with digital prints I created a series of woodcut prints using laser engraving technology.

“RatKind” is a dystopian, yet hopeful, series that recognizes the need for human-kind to overcome its fears and prejudices in order to move towards a more inclusive, accepting society. It imagines a future in which alternative forms of community have arisen, inviting greater social diversity, welcoming all forms of intelligence as it strives towards a sustainable future and mourns the passing of an almost incomprehensible past.

EMBRACE, 40” x 27" / 101,6 x 68,58 cm
digital print on polypropylene, 2018

101.6 x 152.4 cm / 40" x 60"
digital print on polypropylene (infra-red imaging), 2018

101.6 x 152.4 cm / 40" x 60"
digital print on polypropylene, 2018

101.6 x 152.4 cm / 40" x 60", digital print on polypropylene (infra-red imaging), 2018

RatKind Videos
The RatKind videos are a series of loops from Bonnie Baxter's "RatKind" installation shown as part of the MAC LAU (Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides) exhibition BONNIE BAXTER : PRÉSENT | PASSÉ | FUTUR ( 2018 - 2019 ) curated by Jonathan Demers



Year: 2018
Length: 2 min. 56 sec.

Bosch Drone

Year: 2018
Length: 5 min. 2 sec.

Star Drone

Year: 2018
Length: 3 min. 46 sec.


2018 - 2019 (Musée d'art contemporain des Laurentides | MAC LAU Saint-Jérôme, Québec)

VIRTUAL TOUR with MAC LAU curator Jonathan Demers >

Download catalogue text from curator Jonathan Demers >

RatKind - Site Specific Installation >
330 Saint-Georges Street, Saint-Jérôme, Québec, 2018 - 2019

RatKind : The Troubling Universe of Bonnie Baxter >

"Do you like rats? While one would be tempted to spontaneously answer "no," Bonnie Baxter's project RatKind explores an even more fundamental question: why don't we like rats?

With her series "RatKind," major contemporary Quebec artist, Bonnie Baxter, poses questions as essential and distrubing as the fate of humanity. Powerful work that confronts us with our own fears as well as the vision of an increasingly probable future, "RatKind" won the Prix Télé-Québec on the occasion of the 11th International Contemporary Print Biennial of Trois-Rivières."

(in French only)


Director, camera and editing: Jean-Luc Daigle
Camera: Jérôme Scaglia and Thomas Bélanger
Coordination: Patrick Douville
Production Technician: Stéphanie Collins

Artist Credits:

Garden Sculptures: Michel Beaudry
All other artworks: Bonnie Baxter

Enormous thank yous to: Jules Beauchamp Desbiens, of DigiFab Concordia University; the entire team of the Centre d'exposition Raymond-Lasnier; as well as Élisabeth Mathieu, of the Biennale internationale d'estampe contemporaine de Trois-Rivières.



Download CV >


Bonnie Baxter is an interdisciplinary artist who has exhibited both nationally and internationally for more than 5 decades. She works mainly in experimental print, installation, sculpture, and video. She is engaged in a continuing series based on the archetypal character “Jane” and a cast of related alter egos. Exhibitions include “The Tragic and Premature Death of Jane” at Division Gallery in 2016 as well as three major surveys of her work at Musée d'art contemporain des Laurentides (MAC LAU) including the exhibition “Rewind” which was toured in Canada and the US in 2005-07 and most recently, “Bonnie Baxter : Présent | Passé | Futur” (2018-19). In 2019 she was awarded the Prix Télé-Québec from the 11e Biennale internationale d’estampe contemporaine de Trois-Rivières. She received the Prix les Grands Soleils for lifetime achievement (2018), the Charles Biddle Prize (2016), and the Prix à la création artistique (CALQ, 2005). She was born in Texarkana, Texas and lives and works in Val-David, Québec where she founded the Atelier du Scarabée in 1982.

MOTEL, Edition 8, Laser engraved woodcut on Arches Paper
59.69 x 81.28 cm / 23 x 32 inches, 2018