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Must-Sees This Week: January 11 to 17, 2018

Striking site-specific installations in Ottawa lead off a strong week of exhibition openings across the country

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.


Three exhibitions open January 15 at 8 p.m. at Carleton University Art Gallery: “Robert Houle: Pahgedenaun,” “Sun K. Kwak: Untying Space_CUAG” and “Linda Sormin: Fierce Passengers.”

The Robert Houle exhibition looks at several recent bodies of drawings and paintings by this Saulteaux artist, who was also the focus of the gallery’s first contemporary-art solo show back in the early 1990s. For the latter two exhibitions, Linda Sormin and Sun K. Kwak have been working intensively at CUAG over a two-week period to create their site-specific works—Sormin on a large-scale ceramic installation and Sun on the black-tape “Space Drawing.” (“Space Drawing” marks the Korean artist’s first Canadian solo show, too.)


Stories of Black settlement in the Maritimes are brought to light in “Excavation: Memory Work,” a project by Sylvia D. Hamilton opening on January 12 at 5 p.m. at the UNB Art Centre. Based on decades of research and reflection, this thought-provoking display, mined from the collection of Kings Landing and the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, promises to challenge ideas and assumptions about our collective past. Hamilton’s previous films and projects include Black Mother Black Daughter, Speak It: From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia, Portia White: Think On Me and The Little Black School House, among others.


A gathering in honour of Raymond Gervais will happen on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, including a concert by Rober Racine at 3 p.m.

Happening in conjunction with its current exhibition “L’OFFRE,” the DHC/ART has organized a lecture and discussion with Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, and Montreal filmmaker Robin McKenna on January 11 at 7 p.m. Hyde will discuss his book followed by McKenna screening clips from her upcoming documentary GIFT, itself a tribute to Hyde’s book. The presentation will conclude with a Q&A by curator Cheryl Sim.

The exhibition “All Hat, No Cattle” opens at Projet Pangée on January 11, bringing together the work of Trevor Baird and Simone Blain. Featuring Baird’s ceramics and Blain’s paintings, the exhibition will run until February 17. Over at Galerie Laroche/Joncas, an exhibition of paintings entitled “Honey Get the Phone” by New York-based artist Stephen Lack debuts on January 13 with a reception from 3 to 6 p.m. On this same day, the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery presents OUT of SIGHT, a new project by Lynda Gaudreau stemming from her series OUT, which she began in 2009.

Also on January 13, the SBC Gallery will host a reception for Sepake Angiama’s “All good things must begin: A conversation between Audre Lorde and Octavia E. Butler” from 2 to 5 p.m. Angiama is currently completing a residency at the gallery for the month of January, and her project seeks to provide a space for reading, writing and discussion on the subjects of intersectional feminism, architecture and science fiction.


A new exhibition by the US-based collective Postcommodity (Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist), curated by Suzanne Carte, launches at the Art Gallery of York University on January 11. The collective has created a multidisciplinary installation featuring their two works A Very Long Line (2016) and Coyotaje (2017), which delves into issues of migration, national borders and border policing in North America. A reception will be held on opening day from 6 to 9 p.m.

Gallery 44 premieres two new projects on January 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.: “Rage Wave” by Sam Vernon, a Canadian premiere in the mainspace, and “Arrangements” by Madelyne Beckles in the vitrines. Also, Bambitchell’s “Special Works School” at Gallery TPW debuts January 13 from 2 to 5 p.m. Through performance, video, and installation, Bambitchell (Sharlene Bamboat and Alexis Mitchell) has developed an expansive research practice working with national archives and historical narratives—at TPW they offer a multi-part installation on surveillance and art.

Franz Kaka presents “Age me a heavy twig,” a two-person exhibition featuring new work by Carl Marin and Veronika Pausova, beginning with a reception on January 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. “Moemoeā,” a solo exhibition by Canadian artist Brendan George Ko opens at Contact Gallery on January 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. It explores the re-emergence of the Polynesian voyaging canoe in contemporary Hawai’i, using photo and video to examine the ways in which the canoe has revitalized Hawaiian culture and created a community that brings together elders, youth, natives and non-natives.

Tegan Moore’s “Variations” opens at Zalucky Contemporary on January 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. Moore’s slight, unassuming sculptures are constructed from materials used to regulate climate such as air filters, vents and polyethylene foam. Painter Sarah Cale debuts new canvases in an exhibition titled “Potpourri” at Clint Roenisch Gallery; it opens January 11 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Based in a recent residency at Doris McCarthy’s home in the Scarborough Bluffs, Brooklyn artist Rachel MacFarlane presents “Fool’s Paradise” at Nicholas Metivier Gallery beginning January 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. The latest Open Studio scholarship and fellowship exhibitions open on January 12 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with artist talks at 6 p.m. The artists featured are Pudy Tong and Josh Brien.

Three new exhibitions open at Xpace Cultural Centre on January 12 from 7 to 10 p.m.: “For Us By Us” curated by Geneviève Wallen, Laurence Philomene and Starchild Stela, “it is what it is” and Erin Rei’s “Soft Armour.” The exhibitions are part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival.

Wednesday January 17 at 7 pm Inuk curator and art historian Dr. Heather Igloliorte presents her talk “Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in the Art Museum: Centering Inuit Knowledge and Community in Exhibition Practices” at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

In closings, Mark Lewis’s “Anniversary” at Daniel Faria Gallery wraps on January 13.


Celebrating the excessive abundance of the archive, “Beginning with the Seventies: GLUT” is concerned with language, depictions of the woman reader as an artistic genre and the potential of reading as performed resistance. It opens at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. on January 11, and between 6:30 and 7 p.m., artist Alexandra Bischoff will moderate a discussion within her installation Rereading Room (2016–18). Speakers include Jeannine Mitchell, a founding member of the Vancouver Women’s Bookstore (1973–1996) and Stéphanie Dufresne, a founding member of Montreal’s feminist bookstore L’Euguélionne (est. 2015). A casual conversation to consider the feminist bookstore movement past and present with audience Q&A will follow.

Starting on January 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. is Brent Wadden’s first Canadian institutional solo show—“Two Scores” at the Contemporary Art Gallery. Encompassing six new woven works displayed across both galleries upon the floor and walls, the exhibition presents themes and tensions core to Wadden’s practice, simultaneously drawing from and antagonizing the highly gendered histories of painting and textiles, fine art and craft.

At Seymour Art Gallery, “Steve Baylis: Manifestation of Intention” opens January 14 from 3 to 5 p.m., with an artist talk at 2 p.m.


Stephen Altena’s “Another Spring” has a reception January 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Assembly, reflecting an interest in flowers and plants found specifically at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Hamilton and Burlington: Hendrie Garden, The Rock Garden and Laking Garden; as well as the Walker Botanical Garden at Rodman Hall, Brock University.


Gallery 1C03 presents two exhibitions—“What Flies Above” by Erika Lincoln and Reva Stone and “The Unselected of the Pinwale” by James Malzahn—beginning on January 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. The first show features new digital and sculptural installations by Winnipeg artists Stone and Lincoln that explore socio-political implications of our interactions with unmanned aerial vehicles (often referred to as UAVs or drones). The second highlights Malzahn’s work on Internet technology and data forensics.


Hannah Claus’s “hochelaga rock” opens January 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Artspace, followed the next day by an artist talk at 1 p.m. The exhibition highlights the fluidity of Indigenous knowledge and time, as well as the constraints imposed upon this understanding by Western structures of chronology and record. Utilizing the image of the Hochelaga Rock, the commemorative stone for the village and people encountered by Jacques Cartier in 1535 that sits at McGill campus in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, Hannah Claus interrupts its solidity to express the dislocation in time, space and understanding between Western and Indigenous worldviews.


Starting on January 11 and running through to the 13th from 1 to 8 p.m. daily, IKG LIVE is a three-day festival dedicated to live art that takes place at the Alberta College of Art and Design’s Illingworth Kerr Gallery. Organized by Lorenzo Fusi, the event includes Alexandra Bischoff, Nurgul Rodriguez, and Nicole Swanson, among others, as well as keynote performers Cecilia Bengolea featuring Mikhail Morris, Kapwani Kiwanga and Andrew Bartee.

Over at Untitled Art Society “Anna Hawkins: Fall Fell Felt” opens January 12 at 7 p.m. The project dissects, remixes and re-enacts the popular online genre “girl fails” in an exploration of schadenfreude, voyeurism and empathy.


“Isachsen,” opening January 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at dc3 Art Projects, presents aAron Munson, David Hoffos, Dara Huminski and Gary James Joynes in a multimedia exhibition of photography, video installation, sculpture and sound. The work probes the impact of isolation in the high Arctic—specifically in Isachsen, an Arctic weather station operated on Ellef Ringnes Island from 1948 to 1978. In 1974, Munson’s father, a 19-year-old farm boy from Southern Ontario, was stationed at Isachsen for 12 months as a weather observation technician with Environment Canada, and the younger Munson recently revisited the site.


“Landfall and Departure: Epilogue” is an exhibition that endeavours to listen to the sea through contemporary visual art, sound works, presentations, and performances by Ayesha Hameed with Tom Hirst, Colter Harper and Liz Park with Marcus Rediker, Lili Huston-Herterich and Eleanor King, among others. The opening reception on January 11 at 7 p.m. at the Nanaimo Art Gallery features a performance by Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback.


The exhibition “Sovereign Acts,” curated by Wanda Nanibush and contending with contend with the legacy of colonial representations, opens January 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery. The touring exhibition includes works by Lori Blondeau, Dayna Danger, James Luna and Shelley Niro, among others.


The touring exhibition “Melanie Authier: Contrarieties & Counterpoints,” curated by Robert Enright, opens January 13 at the MSVU Art Gallery.


“The Closer Together Things Are,” an exhibition exploring the space between difference and similarity that arises from intense observation, opens January 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Owens Art Gallery. The exhibitions features the work of artists Kathleen Hearn, Ève K. Tremblay, Laura Letinsky, Micah Lexier and Dave Dyment, and Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky, among others. It is co-curated by Shannon Anderson and Jay Wilson.

Also at the Owens, independent curator and critic Amanda Cachia will give a talk entitled “Disability and Curatorial Activism” on January 17 at 7:30 p.m.


New exhibitions open at the Art Gallery of Guelph on January 17 at 7 p.m. One is “Common Collective: Land/Line,” which addresses the fact that farmland in Ontario has dropped by 1.6 million acres since 1991. Its interactive installation combines new media and analog technologies to explore social and environmental changes witnessed in rural environments in Ontario over the past half-century. “Shelley Niro: ONGNIAAHRA/Niagara” is an exhibition that marks the beginning of Niro’s 2018 creative residency with the Art Gallery of Guelph and Musagetes Foundation; it emerges from Niro’s engagement with the AGG’s extensive collection of historic Haudenosaunee beadwork.


Antoine Nessi and Magali Babin are featured in new exhibitions opening January 12 at l’Oeil de Poisson.

These must-sees are selected from submissions and press releases sent to at least two days prior to publication. Listings can be found at

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