The Wiccan and heavy-metal leanings of Ontario duo Fastwürms may seem a far cry from the ivy-covered walls and quiet academe of Queen’s University, but the fact is that Fastwürms member Dai Skuse is a Queen’s alumnus and the university’s Agnes Etherington Art Centre owns two of their pivotal installations: Hawk 33 (1999) and Superstition (2000). Starting August 3, these works take over the centre’s atrium and one of its galleries with references to the criminal and the supernatural. Also beginning at the centre on August 3 is “A Canadian Collection: The Soloway Gift.” Honouring the 61 paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture that Ruth Soloway donated to the centre in 2012, it includes works by CanCon canon names like Emily Carr, David Milne, Jean-Paul Lemieux and Michael Snow.
Many may lament the state of our cities, but Kandis Friesen sees the urban landscape differently. Namely, she sees accumulation of dirt in public spaces as a kind of collective drawing—a reading she hopes to reinforce with acts of public cleaning (or, as she puts it, erasing) that take place from August 5 to 9 on the “promenade des artistes” in the Quartier des Spectacles. Dressed in a nondescript work uniform, she will tidy, clean and scrub the sidewalks, also highlighting questions of labour, property and public ownership in this endeavour produced by Dare-Dare. Elsewhere in the city, Concordia’s FOFA Gallery begins its annual outdoor screening series August 1 at 9 p.m. with shorts from the NFB on the theme of labour, and on August 3 at 3 p.m. Les Territoires opens a show of work resulting from a residency led by Mexican artist Alejandro Garcia Contreras.
Originally from Luxembourg, Vancouver-based artist Patricia Huijnen is intrigued by the mouth as both a source of speech and a place of sensory perceptions. This interest comes to the fore in I Will Speak the Words It Would Say If It Could Talk, a series of ceramic vocal tracts debuting August 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Wil Aballe Art Projects. The opening also features a performance by artist and musician Lief Hall; his vocal compositions promise to interact with Huijnen’s objects to explore voice as material. Elsewhere in the city, the Marion Scott Gallery and Kardosh Projects open “Eight Women,” a show of eight women artists from the North including Kenojuak Ashevak and Lucy Tasseor, on August 3 from 12 to 3 p.m. The Charles H. Scott Gallery also opens a new exhibition “Photography and the West Coast Modern House,” featuring art by Jim Breukelman, Selwyn Pullan and others, on August 6 at 7 p.m.
Toronto artist Dorian FitzGerald has become renowned for his large, glossy canvases portraying luxury items and spaces of the rich and famous; past subjects have included Elton John’s sunglasses collection and the throne room of Portugal’s national palace. Now, in a new show opening August 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Clint Roenisch, FitzGerald debuts a massive new painting portraying the formal gardens of Drummond Castle in Scotland. Commissioned for the new Richard Ivey Building at the University of Western Ontario, it promises a seductive perspective on privilege and order. Elsewhere in the city, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” highlights art by Janet Bellotto, Barb Hunt, Faith La Roque and Camilla Singh at De Luca Fine Art opening August 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. At the AGO, acclaimed French photographer Mohamed Bourouissa presents a collaboration with Toronto hip-hop artist Mindbender as part of the gallery’s 1st Thursdays on August 1 from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. And video installation duo Soft Turns (Sarah Jane Gorlitz and Wojciech Olejnik) open a show at O’Born Contemporary on August 7 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Knitting is an art of small gestures, accumulated. But the craft is writ large August 3 and 4 in Barrie as UK outfit Superblue presents The Giant Knitting Nancy at the city’s annual Kempenfest. Launched at Canary Wharf, London, in 2010 and a hit of the MacLaren Art Centre‘s programming for the arts and crafts festival last year, knitting, in this project, becomes both a public collaboration and a massive installation.
At 97 years of age, Betty Dimock is a force to be reckoned with. The Winnipeg artist served in World War II and also worked for many years as a nurse. At the age of 63, she earned her BFA from the University of Manitoba, though she had studied at the Pratt Institute in New York many years before as well. For decades, she has been a presence in Manitoba’s art scene, and on August 1 from 5 to 7 p.m., Martha Street Studio opens a show of Dimock’s modernist abstractions in lithography, watercolour and monoprint.
Sound-art fans won’t want to miss the annual Electric Eclectics festival on Gordon Monahan and Laura Kikauka‘s farm near Meaford. This year features a performance by Mary Margaret and Marcus O’Hara, among other acts, as well as sound installations, film screenings and more. Runs August 2 to 4.
Screenings are a common enough thing in the art world, but less so in the context of a drive-in movie theatre. Fans of art cinema get the chance from August 1 to 5 in Durham as part of the Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film there. Curated by Clint Enns and Nelson Henricks, the festival also features gallery shows, screenings in a former mill tower, pub talks, river-dam installations and more. Works by Barry Doupé, Thomas Kneubühler and Geoffrey Shea are among the highlights.
These picks are selected from press material sent to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two days in advance of publication. Listings of exhibitions, openings and other art events can be found at canadianart.ca/listings.