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Must-Sees This Week: August 21 to 27, 2014

There are lots of great art shows opening across Canada this week, and other interesting events happening too. Here are our best bets.

“Material Witness: Art, Activism and Fibre” at Gallery 101 brings together five artists who access the power and versatility of textiles in their work. Karina Bergmans’s take a deep breath (breathe) is made of Tyvek hazmat suits, paint, and an air blower, for example. Other artists include Barry Ace, Emily Rose Michaud, Bozica Radjenovic and Mona Sharma. Opens August 22, 7 to 10 p.m. with additional performances on August 21 on Sparks Street and August 23 at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Ottawa’s Arts Hall.

Art in the Open PEI, a free annual event that highlights Charlottetown’s art scenes and venues, culminates August 23 with an evening of public installations and performances from 4 p.m. to midnight. Among the attractions are a pow-wow dancer performance initiated by Ursula Johnson at Confederation Centre Plaza at 9 p.m.; Jordan Bennett’s Seeking the Cause for This Desertion installation from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m., also at the plaza; and Philippe Allard and Justin Duchesneau’s milk-crate installation on top of the provincial art gallery. Also around town are Amy Malbeuf’s Portals, Sonny Assu’s Colonial Eyes They’re Watching You, and Mark Igloliorte’s Komatik, which invites dog owners to have their pet’s portrait drawn while posing alongside an Inuit sled.

MSVU Art Gallery was built in 1971, and its two-storey height was designed for the preeminent art of that era—expansive wall works and sculptures. Starting on August 23, “Big in Nova Scotia” responds to the moment of the gallery’s beginning with a selection of large works from the gallery’s collection. Represented are Lynn Donoghue, Frances Dorsey, Gathie Falk, Steve Higgins, Svava Juliusson, Charlotte Lindgren, Rebecca Roberts, Ron Shuebrook and Peter Walker. Also notably beginning on August 23 is the touring show “Entre le chien et le loup” featuring the art of NSCAD grad David R. Harper at Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery. Harper’s unique sculptural strategies combine taxidermy with ceramics and embroidery. Elsewhere, a selection of works by Garry Neill Kennedy open at the Khyber on August 25, with sales going to support the artist-run centre.

Summer is high time for road trips, and many art lovers in the Greater Toronto Area should consider hitting the highway for “Sunday Drive,” a 16-day arts festival starting August 23 in the small village of Warkworth that includes programming by Mercer Union, InterAccess, Fado and other groups. Among the attractions is Hazel Meyer’s transformation of the Cow Palace—site of Warkworth’s Agricultural Fair—into an after-hours sports club for Muscle Panic, a rogue girl’s basketball team in need of a space in which to train, scheme, and otherwise spend time together, often at night. Look for mismatched banners and pennants hanging over a handcrafted, 14-foot basketball hoop.

A big Alex Colville retrospective—the largest, in fact, of the late artist’s work to date—opens to the public August 23 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where it is sure to be a draw. Elsewhere, Daniel Hutchinson’s unusual black monochromes—often presented with custom lighting structures to accentuate the grooves and etchings which create imagery in this paintings—are in focus August 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. during the opening of a new solo show at Angell Gallery. Also showing at the gallery are digital takes on art-historical tropes by Rafael Ochoa.

A site-specific installation by Bruce Montcombroux appeals this week at Art Placement. Though the show has been on view and in development in situ since August 11, a closing reception on August 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. provides opportunity to also contemplate a recent series of small-scale works on paper that make reference to a range of built and un-built forms, including toy models, stage sets, scaffolding, trailer parks, architectural models, video games, digital renderings, and virtual reality—all of which have influenced the artist’s wall-mounted sculpture.

“Noondaagotoon: play it (so it makes sounds),” a screening at the Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque on August 21 at 7 p.m., features several shorts exploring themes of contemporary Aboriginal identity, political issues and popular culture—with a double dose of Indigenous identity coming from music by Indigenous musicians. Elsewhere, the Plug In Party Patio series offers its own outdoor screenings from 8 to 11:45 p.m. on the same evening, offering the chance to mix a little Godard with the last days of patio season.

Artist and editor Sylvette Babin presents the latest iteration of Verticale’s outdoor summer reading club series on August 23 from 2 to 5 p.m. on Berge de l’Anse-bleue. The free seminar will involve discussion of four texts related to intersections between art and life. Contact the gallery for copies of the readings. Another facet of public space is explored in an “urban laboratory” session with Shauna Janssen, Marie-France Daigneault-Bouchard, and Thomas Strickland at Place Publique near Darling Foundry on August 23 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Our weekly must-sees, published each Thursday, are selected from press material sent to at least two days prior to publication. For listings of art openings, exhibitions and events, please visit

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