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Must-Sees This Week: May 10 to 16, 2018

Sewn-fabric works by Colleen Heslin debut in Vancouver, while an exhibition on memorial tattoos opens in Halifax and (just in time for Mother's Day) a show of artist-mothers is on view in Winnipeg.

Lots of great art exhibitions and events are taking place across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for debuting shows and events, and a few reminders about shows that are closing. Visit our Exhibition Finder for more listings of worthwhile shows that are already open.


On May 10, Monte Clark Gallery presents two exhibitions: Colleen Heslin’s most recent series of fibre-based paintings in “Slow Peripheral Movements” and selections from two of Scott McFarland’s most recent bodies of work, Sky Leaks and Lens Cleaning.

New work by Judy Radul debuts in “Words No Pictures Pictures No Words” at Catriona Jeffries on May 10 with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Over at the Contemporary Art Gallery, curator Kimberly Phillips will lead a tour of “The Blue Hour” on May 10 at 6 p.m.

Or Gallery debuts “Being in Place” on May 11, featuring artists Bridget Reweti, Debra Sparrow, Shannon Te Ao and Kamala Todd. Curated by Paula Booker, the show brings together installations by Māori artists as well as those of local Musqueam and Métis/Cree/German creators.

221A’s Pollyanna 圖書館 Library hosts a film screening of Neither Country, Nor Graveyard (2017) and A House of Skin (2016) by Felix Kalmenson on May 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. A discussion between curator Jenn Jackson and media analyst Svitlana Matviyenko will follow the screening. Elsewhere, the West Vancouver Museum launches “Selwyn Pullan: What’s Lost” with a reception the evening of May 15, showcasing the artist’s modernist architectural photography.


The Remai Modern launches “Bathers at Night” by the New York-based artist Paul Chan on May 11. In this new body of work, Chan presents his series breathers—sculptural works made of fabric and attached to fans in such a way that the artist can animate them into choreographed movements. Chan will give an artist talk on opening day at 7 p.m.

Over at Gallery/art placement inc., the solo show “Reverie in Darkness” by Jennifer Crane, who explores the connection between the body and the lens in photography, opens on May 12.


Lara Kramer presents her immersive performance art exhibition “Phantom Stills & Vibrations”—a tribute to the victims of the Pelican Falls residential school, created in collaboration with Stefan Petersen—at MAI (Montréal arts interculturels) on May 10. An opening ceremony and performance will take place on opening day.

The Galerie de l’UQAM debuts two exhibitions on May 16. Marking the 70th anniversary of the Refus global manifesto, “Refus contraire” seeks to revisit the commitments made in the text and features artists who resist the status quo in their own ways. Participating artists include Oana Avasilichioaei, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Karina Champoux, Cool Cunts, Pascale Drevillon, Sophie Dubois, Camille Larivée, Nikki Little, Noémi McComber and Becca Taylor, among many others. Meanwhile, “Leurs ombres centenaires” features sculptures by Alexia Laferté-Coutu composed of materials from historic architectural structures.

Meanwhile, Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain presents Benjamin Klein’s “Shifter Bender Striker” and Tyson Parks’s “Nomanisan” on May 10. Over at Studio XX, Rojin Shafiei presents works that culminated from a recent residency, including a video installation that delves into explorations of time. Elsewhere at OBORO, Chittakone Thirakul presents the installation “Orchestre sauvage de sons inédits et manipulés avec soin” on May 10 and 11, followed by performances on May 12 at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. as part of Festival Accès Asie. Galerie B-312 presents two new shows on May 10: “Les Atomistes” by Richard Deschênes and “Arpentage empirique” by Ivan Lassere.


Pari Nadimi Gallery presents the solo exhibition “Moly and Kassandra” by Matilda Aslizadeh on May 10 with a reception at 6 p.m. The artist’s video and photographic work “explores the tensions between abstract and material forces in the economy through the juxtaposition of statistical charts, fortune-telling predictions coming from mysterious sources, and large holes permanently left in the earth.”

Onsite Gallery hosts a panel discussion with the New Generation Photography Award winners Elisa Julia Gilmour, Meryl McMaster and Deanna Pizzitelli on May 16 at 7 p.m., as part of the current exhibition of the artists’ works. Elsewhere, there will be an opening Reception Wednesday, May 16 from 6-8pm at the University of Toronto Art Centre Governor General Award-winning artist and writer Robert Fones‘s exhibition “Signs | Forms | Narratives.” Downtown at Susan Hobbs Gallery, Oliver Husain’s “French Exit” opens on May 10. Over at the Bata Shoe Museum, the traveling exhibition “Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes,” a retrospective of one of the fashion industry’s key players, opens on May 16.

More exhibitions open as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival this week. Angell Gallery presents the group show “Let There Be Light” on May 11. Curated by Bill Clarke, the exhibition explores light as a material, and the featured artists are Isabel M. Martinez, Liz Nielsen, Sarah Sands Phillips, Katarina Riopel, Tim Roda, Alison Rossiter and Jim Verburg. Also as part of CONTACT, Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts and Documentary Media Research Centre presents “Untitled Selves: New Images” by Frank Rodick, while Les Enfants Terribles presents “Refraction” by Spencer Julien, both launching on May 10. Meanwhile, Nicholas Metivier Gallery launches “Gordon Parks: I Am You”—also a CONTACT feature—on May 10, surveying the American photographer’s documentation of the civil rights movement in the US. “The Shape of The Middle” is a featured group exhibition curated by Daniella Sanader at Open Studio Gallery that will open on May 11, bringing together the work of Shannon Garden-Smith, Jenine Marsh, Tania Willard and Fan Wu.

East of the city in Oshawa, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery presents “Glimmers of the Radiant Real” on May 12, a dazzling exploration into the materiality and radiance of surfaces and what their qualities impart. Featured artists include Katie Bethune-Leamen, Broadbent Sisters, Daniel Griffin Hunt, Sanaz Mazinani, Sandy Plotnikoff, Mary Pratt, Cole Swanson, Catherine Telford-Keogh and Xiaojing Yan. Westward at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, artist Mariam Magsi will give an artist talk about her practice and current exhibition “Jahez | Dowry” on May 12 at 1 p.m., followed by a tour of the group show “seeping upwards, rupturing the surface” by curator Kendra Ainsworth.


Two group shows launch at the Carleton University Art Gallery this week. “In Dialogue” presents the work of 12 First Nations, Métis and Sami artists who together look at the links and contradictions of contemporary Indigenous identities, while “Quill Boxes from Mnidoo Mnising” will showcase 16 quill boxes made by artists from Mnidoo Mnising (Manitoulin Island).

On May 12, CUAG also hosts the Stonecroft Symposium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., which will feature discussions around the themes presented in “In Dialogue.” The day will include a performance by Peter Morin; talks with Morin, Jason Lujan, Raven Davis, Alexandra Nahwegahbow, Danielle Printup, Summer-Harmony Twenish, Cathy Mattes and Michelle LaVallee; a tour by the exhibition’s curator John G. Hampton; and the panel discussion “NDN White Fragility” moderated by Hampton featuring Steve Loft, Nadia Myre and Nicole Kelly Westman.

The first-ever retrospective of Canadian master silversmith Laurent Amiot (1764–1839) opens May 11 at the National Gallery of Canada, highlighting the artist’s significant contribution and influence on the development of art in Canada.

Over at Central Art Garage, Laura Taler’s show solo exhibition “So So Lovely” debuts on May 11 with a reception at 7 p.m. Elsewhere, the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa launches its SPAO Centre Gallery on May 11 with the exhibition “CANADIANA – Selections from the Art Bank Collection,” featuring works by Ed Burtynsky, David Craig, Denis Farley, Chris Gergley, Lorraine Gilbert, Angela Grauerholz, Mary Longman, Shelley Niro and Greg Staats.


Gathering close to 100 artworks, images and objects from across the Rooms art gallery, archives and museum collections, the new exhibition “Future Possible” asks questions about how histories are told and re-told through images. It opens to the public May 12.

Taking place over two summers, this is the first of a groundbreaking look at the art history and iconography of Newfoundland and Labrador, starting with the period before Confederation in 1949. The exhibition places historical works in conversation with works by contemporary artists who reference real and imagined histories.

Among the artists featured are Alexander Young Jackson, Rockwell Kent, Robert Pilot, Maurice Cullen, Shanawdithit, Helen Parsons Shepherd, Rebecca Belmore, Mary Ann Penashue, Michael Pittman and many more.


The Art Gallery of Guelph hosts an opening reception for their three new spring exhibitions on May 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. The programming features: “Fieldwork” which presents work by Arizona-based artist, farmer, and food activist Matthew Moore; “Getting Under Our Skin” with works by contemporary Inuit artists Alethea Anarquq-Baril, Katherine Takpannie, Couzyn van Heuvelen and Tanya Tagaq, as well as works from the AGG’s permanent collection; and “Counterproductive Work Behaviour” by Andrew Buszchak, featuring sculptures made of carbon steel, lumber and other materials used in construction trades.


On May 10, the McMaster Museum of Art launches Rebecca Belmore’s video installation March 5, 1819—which investigates a facet of Beothuk history—and the exhibition “The Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Project” which stems from a 2015 summer festival in Dawson City, featuring artists Dianne Bos, Lea Bucknell, Ernie Kroeger, Kevin Schmidt, Holly Ward, Carsten Wirth and Andrew Wright.

Over at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, a discussion in link with the current exhibition “Water Works” will take place on May 10, featuring curator Christine Boyanoski and artists Bonnie Devine, Liss Platt, Ed Pien, David Rokeby and Christopher McLeod.

Teresa Ascencao’s “Daily Bread,” curated by Abedar Kamgari, opens May 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre. The show highlights the labour of the Portuguese-Canadian diaspora in Hamilton and Toronto.


Cambridge Art Galleries launches “╰(*8:8:8*)╯♡ ” by Asian-pop-girl-band-artist-trio XVK (or 三喜), featuring members Xuan Ye, Véronique Sunatori and Sara Kay Maston. Curated by Žana Kozomora, this show celebrates their new single and marks their touring debut.


Two new exhibitions open on May 12 at Newzones. In Marie Lannoo’s show entitled “Spectrum,” the artist presents a series of coloured abstract paintings, layered to create an illusory and physiological effect. In “Garden Party,” Emily Filler showcases her painterly collages, which combine painting, printmaking and photography.

Over at Christine Klassen Gallery, “Koan” by Carl White debuts on May 12. An opening reception will take place fom 1 to 4 p.m., including an artist talk by White at 2 p.m.


The Southern Alberta Art Gallery debuts “Body Collective” with a reception at 6 p.m. on May 11. Curated by Courtney Faulkner, the works in this group show honour the body as a site of knowing.


The Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery along with ImagineNATIVE and The Cinematheque present the screening program “Transformations: Terril Calder’s Animated Worlds” on May 11 and 12. This marks the first retrospective of Calder’s signature stop-motion animation films.

Mother’s Day on Sunday is also an excellent time to check out “Fractured Portrayals of Motherhood,” an exhibition curated by Shayani A. Turko at Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, and up until May 25.


Deluge Contemporary Art hosts a screening series of three documentaries about contemporary art and the land art movement: Eva Hesse; Burden—a film about the artist Chris Burden; and Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art. The screenings take place May 10, 11 and 12.


On May 11 at 5:30 p.m., Galerie 3 presentd Claudie Gagnon’s first solo exhibition at a private gallery. Gagnon will be presenting the as-yet-unseen product of her recent research spanning over 500 years of painting history.


“it just brings me closer”: Reflections on Memorial Tattoos is recently opened on the main floor of the MSVU Library. Curated by Jennifer Buckle and Sonya Corbin Dwyer of the psychology program at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University, this exhibition of photographs is part of a larger study on the meaning and purpose of commemorative tattoos.


The Cape Breton University Art Gallery presents to new exhibitions on May 11: Steve Wadden’s “Forged,” a photographic exhibition documenting the decline of a steel city, and Steve Jansen’s “Through a Quiet Window,” featuring the artist’s photographs from the 1970s and early ’80s.


“River Arts: Reimagining the Columbia across Borders” is a special event May 11 and 12. Hosted by Selkirk College and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, this event will bring together a confluence of artists, writers, scholars and engaged citizens to exchange ideas about creativity as a means of engaging with the complexities presented by the Columbia River.

This intimate gathering will take place at Selkirk College’s Castlegar campus, a fitting location at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers. As the United States and Canada prepare to renegotiate the Columbia River Treaty, the timing of this contemplative symposium is also rich with significance.

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