Renowned for her detailed, often luminous still-life paintings, Newfoundland and Labrador artist Mary Pratt will be celebrated in a 50-year retrospective exhibition that opens in St. John’s and then tours Canada until January 2015. Highly contemporary yet rooted in traditions of art history, Pratt’s work remains compelling and relevant. Opens May 11 and runs to September 1.
Art Spiegelman at the Vancouver Art Gallery
In 2008, the VAG had a runaway hit with “KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art.” It seems this first retrospective exhibition of acclaimed comic artist Art Spiegelman must be connected in some way. Titled “Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps,” it promises to present examples from all facets of his diverse career, including preparatory drawings, sketches, studies and panels relating to his early underground comics from the 1970s right up to his work with Maus and beyond. Opens February 16 and runs to June 9.
The Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta
Curated by Canadian Art contributing editor and GG-award winning critic Nancy Tousley, the 2013 Alberta Biennial (cheekily titled “The News from Here”) will explore the theme of post-regionalism in the context of Alberta art. Watch for a range of artists from emerging to established, including Jason de Haan and Miruna Dragan, Eric Cameron, Bruno Canadien, Terrance Houle and Taras Polataiko. Opens January 26 and runs to May 6.
Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Canada
A few years ago, National Gallery of Canada director Marc Mayer promised us a quinquennial of indigenous art; “Sakahàn,” meaning “to light a fire” in the language of the Algonquin, is the kickoff edition. With more than 100 works by 75 artists from around the globe, it aims to interrogate various cultural, political and social issues. Opens May 17 and runs to September 2.
Ai Weiwei at the Art Gallery of Ontario
It’s not hard to defend the assertion that Ai Weiwei is one of the world’s most important living artists. Through installations, publications and political actions, he has challenged many ideas about life in his homeland and abroad. Yet audiences in Canada have had little exposure to his vast and varied output. That will change this summer, when the AGO becomes the only Canadian stop on a North American tour of “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” Currently showing at the Smithsonian in Washington, the exhibition is curated by Tokyo’s Mami Kataoka, who will give a talk in the Canadian Art Foundation’s Asia Contemporary Speaker Series in March. Opens in August and runs to October.
Michel de Broin at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Over the past decade or so, Michel de Broin has distinguished himself as one of Canada’s most interesting contemporary artists. So we’ll be delighted to see this solo survey of him in his hometown of Montreal—and we’re sure we’re not alone in that anticipation. Dates to come.
The Painting Project at Galerie de l’UQAM
Curated by Julie Bélisle and Marie-Eve Beaupré under the leadership of Louise Déry, this survey of contemporary Canadian painting will be divided into four sections: the figure of reality, fictional worlds, painting as the subject and hybrid practices. Part 1 runs May 1 to June 1, part 2, June 7 to July 6.
100 Masterworks at the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Masterworks shows are nothing new. But in this one, the WAG promises to bring works by Rembrandt and Warhol alongside ones by Wanda Koop and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. In all, 100 artworks spanning 500 years—and 28 museum collections across the country—will be included. Runs May 11 to August 11.
Rodney La Tourelle at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery
In the 2010 Canadian Biennial, Rodney La Tourelle’s large-scale work Neo-Plastic Vice, which many viewers walked through on their way to the exit, nearly stole the show. For this exhibition at ACAD, the Berlin-based Canadian artist and architect promises another large-scale installation work that deals with colour, light and environment. Runs November 7 to December 13.
Shary Boyle at the Canada Pavilion in Venice
Last—but certainly not least—any list of this type has got to include Venice. What will Shary Boyle do to the so-often-maligned Canada Pavilion? How will the response be from the international press and art scene? The curiosity is building as the exhibition approaches. We’ll only find out at the end of May when the press preview begins. Runs June 1 to November 24.