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Must-Sees This Week: February 11 to 17, 2016

Lots of great art exhibitions open across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for upcoming shows, and a few reminders about shows that are closing. (And remember to visit our Exhibition Finder, or download the Canadian Art Finder in the App Store or Google Play for even more worthwhile shows that are already open.)


The Contemporary Art Gallery led a successful Kickstarter last year in support of a newly commissioned ballet work by British artists John Wood and Paul Harrison, which will happen later this year; now, the duo open “I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW IT,” which will offer a wider look at their practice, on February 11. Also at the CAG on February 11, Patrick Staff opens “The Foundation,” largely building from a film installation, which delves into queer intergenerational relationships, Tom of Finland and more. (An off-site series of film screenings runs in conjunction with “The Foundation” on February 12 at 7 p.m.) Expanding from the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery’s current show, “Lalakenis/All Directions: A Journey of Truth and Unity,” a pair of Indigenous scholars discuss Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist Chief Beau Dick’s work and other questions on February 11 at 1 p.m. Cindy Mochizuki looks to the sea for “Things on the Shoreline,” which includes a series of drawings and ink works, and first opens at Access Gallery on February 12 at 7 p.m.


“Imitation of Life,” a group exhibition curated by Crystal Mowry of the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, looks at definitions of the word “animate” by bringing together work by Lois Andison, Daniel Barrow, Kota Ezawa, Adad Hannah, Faith La Rocque, Lorna Mills, Allison Schulnik and Skawennati. “Imitation of Life” opens at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery alongside “Blue Line,” a showcase of autobiographical comic-book content, on February 13 at 8 p.m.


Painter Jessy Bilodeau and artist Jeremiah Bellemare, whose work often offers institutional critique, open shows at Centre Bang on February 11.


Artist Ray Fenwick travels to Moncton for a performance of Le Moat Juice, intriguingly described as falling “between experimental comedy and performance art,” at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre in collaboration with Galerie Sans Nom on February 17 at 7:30 p.m.


Jamie Koebel leads a tour-cum-Indigenous walk that offers an Indigenous perspective on spaces within the city and their history, starting at Gallery 101 on February 13 at 1 p.m. in conjunction with “There’s Room: Ottawa Artists Respond to the Refugee Crisis.” Petra Halkes looks at light in her show, “So Many Suns,” which opens at Cube Gallery on February 16, with a vernissage February 21 at 2:00 p.m.

Toronto & Area

School is in session at Daniel Faria Gallery, where Shannon Bool, Chris Curreri, Mark Lewis and Elizabeth Zvonar look to art history in a show opening February 11 at 6 p.m. Curator and urban theorist Paul Goodwin speaks with moderator Sandra Brewster about the “cultures of ‘blackness’ [that] are shaping contemporary urban life” at Prefix ICA on February 11 at 7:30 p.m. The first ever drone-art exhibition in Canada opens at InterAccess on February 17 at 7 p.m. James Luna presents a performance with Jeneen Frei Njootli at Aki Studio Theatre on February 16 at 8 p.m., and opens a new show, “PERFORMAGRAPHIC,” at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford on February 13. Irish artist Isabel Nolan’s first solo show in Canada, “The weakened eye of day” at Mercer Union begins with an artist talk on February 12 at 7 p.m. Morehshin Allahyari’s “Material Speculation,” which presents 3-D printed copies of artifacts that were destroyed by ISIS in 2015, opens at Trinity Square Video on February 11 at 6 p.m. followed by a panel discussion on Islamophobia on February 13 at 2 p.m. At Susan Hobbs Gallery, Brian Groombridge purposefully withholds information in “dd/mm/yyyy,” opening February 11.


Screenings of Lisa Jackson’s short film SAVAGE continue to February 14 at Plug In ICA, and are joined by an artist talk on February 11 at 7 p.m. in conjunction with the current exhibition, “Further Than I Can Throw A Stone.”


Iceland’s fourth most-popular export (after Björk, Sigur Rós and Eyjafjallajökull’s volcanic ash), Ragnar Kjartansson, brings his particular brand of tragicomedy to the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal on February 11 in a solo exhibition that includes three works that give insight into the artist’s performative practice. (The project will also include the North American premiere of his musical production The Explosive Sonics of Divinity on March 3.) An exhibition of new video work by Damir Očko, who looks at translation and reinterpretation, opens at Dazibao on February 11 at 7 p.m.

Quebec City

Carl Bouchard looks to issues of territory and politics with a recent body of work that opens at L’Œil de Poisson on February 12 alongside Maude Bernier Chabot’s new exhibition, which looks at the materiality of geological specimens in natural history museums.


Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, those perennial favourites, come out of the Art Gallery of Alberta’s collection vaults and onto the walls in “Out of the Woods,” which opens February 13. Peter Robertson Gallery hosts receptions for two show on February 11 at 7 p.m.: Graham Peacock’s new painting work, and Bill Anderson’s photographs, which are at the gallery as part of the Exposure 2016 photography festival, which continues at various Alberta venues until the end of February.


Sonny Assu gets site-specific in Surrey with a work at the Surrey Art Gallery’s off-site spot, UrbanScreen (at the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre) that opens February 11.

St. John’s

The Rooms hosts a full-day workshop led by renowned author Lisa Moore on writing critically and creatively on art. It begins February 13 at 10:15 a.m.

North Bay

Hoping to encourage art experiences outside of the institution, the ad-hoc collective Ice Follies presents the next instalment of their biennial festival hosted on and around the frozen Lake Nipissing. It opens with a reception (including warm refreshments) on February 13 at 5 p.m.

Our weekly must-sees, published each Thursday, are chosen from opening and event announcements sent to at least two days prior to publication. For listings of art openings, exhibitions and events, visit

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