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Must-Sees This Week: January 21 to 27, 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.)


A group show picking up on the transcendental, meditative impulses of Medieval and Renaissance painting goes on view at TrépanierBaer on January 23 at 2 p.m., with work by Evan Penny, Christian Eckart and Vikky Alexander.


Dirty Cochinas of the AMERICAS, a performance and installation project that explores the Mestiza/mixed-race identities of artists Luna and Praba Pilar, opens at Urban Shaman on January 22 at 8 p.m. Also opening January 22 at 8 p.m. at Urban Shaman are projects by Jamison Chās Banks and Adrian Stimson. Plug In also launches three concurrent exhibitions on January 22 at 7 p.m.: “Further Than I Can Throw A Stone,” an international film and video show; “Moon Rehearsal Tape,” a sound and video installation by Aston Coles and Irene Bindi; and “L’homelette,” a site-specific installation by Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline.


Brian Jungen returns to the sculptural material of his early, breakthrough days—Air Jordan sneakers—in a new solo show opening at Catriona Jeffries on January 21 from 7 to 9 p.m.“Black Hole Sun” presents new works by Blaine Campbell and Scott Massey that delve into their shared interests in astronomy, cosmology and quantum physics, and it opens at Republic Gallery on January 23 at 2 p.m. The Contemporary Art Gallery launches its 2016 programming with a sequence of six solo performances by Canadian artists including Janice Kerbel and Margaret Dragu, running on various dates from now until January 31. Relatedly, the CAG joins SAD Mag to toast Tiziana la Melia’s contribution to the performance series, Staring at the Ceiling, on January 26 at 5 p.m. Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon’s sculptures, which primarily function to support sound, open at Western Front on January 21 at 7 p.m.


Vancouver-based artist Karin Jones opens her installation Worn, which presents a Victorian mourning dress intricately constructed from braided synthetic hair extensions and surrounded by cotton to comment on African identity and slavery, at McIntosh Gallery January 21 at 8 p.m. Alongside Worn, McIntosh Gallery presents “The John and Suzanne Kaufmann Collection of African Art,” which contains a wide range of tribal masks, ancestral figures, basketry, sculpture and textiles and also opens January 21 at 8 p.m.


What’s the line between art and design? A group exhibition, “The Blur in Between,” looks to answer this question at the Art Gallery of Alberta, featuring work by Colin Miner, Kathy Slade, Julia Feyrer and Tamara Henderson, among others. “The Blur in Between” opens January 23 with a panel discussion the following day on January 24 at 1 p.m.


The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and University of Toronto Art Centre will announce their new collective name on January 21 at 7 p.m. at the opening of “Showroom,” which includes a range of local artists like Jon Sasaki, Margaux Williamson, Vanessa Maltese and more. On January 23 at 6 p.m., Trinity Square Video presents new works by Maya Ben David that parse anthropomorphism in popular culture alongside Alvin Luong’s two-act video project which “exports the formal terms of mid-century Modern painting to the experience of sensory deprivation.” Cooper Cole presents a solo exhibition of work by New York–based artist Ryan Wallace opening January 22. Katzman Contemporary presents HOLD ON HOLD ON SOME THINGS LAST FOREVER, a performative installation by CCC in a one-day showing on January 23 from 3 p.m. with performance at 5 p.m. And art interests cross over into design at Come Up to My Room at the Gladstone Hotel, opening January 21—this year featuring a detailed reproduction of Ferris Bueller’s bedroom, among other pop-cult enticements.


Gallery 101 begins a series of programming in response to the refugee crisis, inviting “local artists to reflect on what it means to leave one’s hometown behind and to become part of a new one, the City of Ottawa.” The group show, “There’s Room,” begins January 23 at 12:30 p.m. with an Indigenous Walk lead by Jaime Koebel, followed by performances by Maria Gomez and Michael Davidge from 2 to 5 p.m.


The emergence of artist-run culture in Halifax is examined in “Why are we saving All these artist publications and Other Gallery stuffs?” The title may have been based on a passing question scrawled on an Eyelevel board-meeting document in 1979, but the theme has decades of substance. Halifax is home to some of the oldest artist-run centres in the country: between 1970 and 1975, Charlotte Townsend-Gault organized the artist-run Mezzanine Gallery at NSCAD. In 1972, a group of female artists established the Inventions Gallery. Learn more about their legacy, and its present-day issues, in this exhibition opening January 21 at 7 p.m. at the Dalhousie Art Gallery.


“The Fifth World marks out a new consciousness within humanity where we begin to relearn our responsibilities after being humbled by disasters of our own creation.” So states the introductory text for “The Fifth World,” an exhibition of works by Indigenous artists opening January 22 at KWAG. Curated by Wanda Nanibush for the 20th anniversary of TRIBE Inc., and featuring art by Sonny Assu, Jordan Bennett, Nicholas Galanin, Ursula Johnson, and others, the exhibition borrows its title from the writings of Laguna Pueblo writer Leslie Marmon Silko.

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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