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Must-Sees This Week: June 30 to July 6, 2016

Lots of great art exhibitions open across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for debuting shows and events, 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.)


Abbas Akhavan and Marina Roy: Neighbours” opens at the Dunlop’s central gallery on June 30 at 6 p.m., including artist talks. Curated by Jennifer Matotek, the show promises to “locate the library and gallery as sites for leisure, contemplation, observation, and play, transforming the gallery into a host of unique spaces to explore.” In tandem, the Dunlop’s Central Mediatheque features “Colonies and Broods” a program of short film and video works curated by Marina Roy to propose “new and complex ways of understanding relationships between entities including, but not limited to, plants, animals, and human beings.” Look for works by Abbas Akhavan, Barry Doupé, Marina Roy and Eleanor Morgan.


“Against Rapture; or, Rupturing POC Relations” is the latest compelling instalment in VIVO Media Arts’ monthly ThirstDays series curated by artist-in-residence Jayce Salloum. This particular event features artworks selected by David Khang and Phanuel Antwi to challenge, as their curatorial statement puts it, “the patterns and tropes that organize or deny narrative templates for POC relations in this city.” Live dance, film and video by ILL NANA / DiverseCity Dance, Helen Lee and Ho Tam question “the obstacles in the ways which people of colour (POC) come to love, understand, and enjoy our differences” given that “colour-blind discourses of love and compassion are invested in myopic ways of imagining relations, ways that deprive us of more inclusive visions of relations, and as a result, ignore power relations that make up processes and privileges of white normalcy.” Take part June 30 at 7:30 p.m. at VIVO Media Arts.

Elsewhere, urban critique takes a different form in Isabelle Pauwels’s ,000, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. at DIM Cinema alongside a film by Turner Prize–winning artist Elizabeth Price. ,000 sets “triumphalist narratives of City Hall and the film industry against the ‘low’ or dirty economy of day-to-day survival embodied by an actress-dominatrix and her clients….[exploring] how the relentless sprawl of commerce dissolves human agency.” Last but certainly not least, on July 1 the Vancouver Art Gallery debuts the first pairing of the Modernist painters Wolfgang Paalen (1905–1959) and Emily Carr (1871–1945) in a show that will tell the story of how the artists met in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1939, and how the creative vision of each expanded in reaction to the majestic landscape of British Columbia and the monumental art of the Northwest Coast First Nations.


A very apropos Canada Day performance by Leah Decter will be taking place around Parliament Hill on July 1. In the project, supported by Gallery 101, cultural workers will be giving away “unsettled” boxes of maple-sugar candies. “oh-oh canada” features candy designs by Adrian Stimson, Cecily Nicholson, Lisa Myers, Peter Morin, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, David Garneau, Michael Farnan and Leah Decter. Available while supplies last! “these may (not) be places” explores the concept of place, including both its depictions and its abstractions. Featuring etching, illustration, painting and pyrography, among other media, the group show of Laura Bydlowska, Kathryn Shriver, Alex Thompson, Guillermo Trejo and Joani Tremblay opens at Studio Sixty Six on June 30 from 6 to 9 p.m.


On July 1, the Art Gallery of Ontario debuts its summer blockbuster “Lawren Harris: The Idea of North,” co-curated by American actor, and Harris fan, Steve Martin. A newly commissioned artwork by Joshua Vettivelu, created in collaboration with student leaders from across York University, takes the form of a 20-foot banner that performs as a protective canopy for the participants on the York University Pride float at Toronto’s Pride Parade on July 3. Don’t forget: July 2 is the last chance to catch Zachari Logan and Morley Shayuk at Paul Petro Contemporary Art. Sci-fi, nature and the socio-economic order combine in “Terraforming,” an exhibition of work by Anna Eyler, Kristina Guison, Melissa General, Safiya Randera and Trudy Erin Elmore curated by Maria Alejandrina Coates at Trinity Square Video with the partnership of SAVAC; catch the work at the opening reception July 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. And a look at sexual assault, tattoos, photography and resistance takes place this weekend at Sexual Assault: The Roadshow next to Scadding Court Community Centre, with a related event June 30 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.


It’s worth catching a special Canada Day performance by Vanessa Dion Fletcher titled Mnemonic Memory, which will take place near Mississauga City Hall, recreating images of historic wampum belts using chalk paint on the city’s concrete surfaces. Fletcher is part of the notable group show “Canadian Belonging(s)” which wraps at the Art Gallery of Mississauga on July 3.


Urban gentrification gets a critique in the form of a seemingly decrepit and abandoned brunch restaurant in Jordan Loeppky-Kolesnik’s window installation The Nightshade Club, debuting July 5 at Articule. Michelle Lacombe and Richard Martel, two well-known performers in the artistic scenes of Montreal and Quebec, from different generations and with distinct affinities, kick off Darling Foundry’s summertime public performance series on June 30 at 7:30 p.m. Emerging art is on tap at Laroche/Joncas, with a show featuring Concordia MFA candidates Lauren Chipeur, The Doodys, Mark Dudiak, Élise Provencher, Stefan Sollenius and Tom Watson. Opening is July 2 from 3 to 6 p.m.


Gary Evans’s distinctive painting practice spans two decades. On July 2, the MacLaren Art Centre debuts a summer-long survey of the artist’s oil paintings from the mid-2000s to the present, complemented by a selection of recent collages. Look for references to historical painting—Arcadian subjects and lively Baroque brushwork—as well as contemporary themes such as consumerism and urban sprawl.

Quebec City

Public art by Charles Fleury—featuring a humorous take on anthropomorphic animals—hits the streets of the Petit Champlain neighbourhood starting on June 30 through a Centre Vu project. Celebrate with a roving vernissage that leaves Parc du Petit Champlain on June 30 at 5 p.m.


The Works Festival Gallery Walk, taking place June 30 from 6 to 8 p.m., will hit up various art spaces, including Peter Robertson Gallery, where artists Robin Smith-Peck, Nomi Stricker and Kirsty Templeton-Davidge will be on hand to talk about their work. The Art Gallery of Alberta is celebrating Canada Day, July 1, with free admission to all its exhibitions, and special family activities. Take a chance to view new Canada-specific works by internationally renowned Puerto Rico–based artists Allora & Calzadilla—namely, an installation based on a trip to Drumheller’s Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology and a live vocal performance centered on a piece of Earth’s mantle from Arctic Canada’s Acasta River Gneiss estimated to be over four billion years old. Also on view: new installations by Duane Linklater and Tanya Lukin Linklater, and the exhibition “7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.,” which wraps up July 3.


Opening rather appropriately on Canada Day, Plug In ICA’s new exhibition, “The State,” derives from the premise that “a nation-state’s official representation of itself and its people is a propaganda that can be both subtle and flagrant.” In the show, works by Vahap Avṣar, Maryam Jafri, Christian Jankowski and Duane Linklater are gathered to address “an anxiety that can be felt as a nation-state so intently tries to control its identity. The work in this group exhibition picks up on this anxiety of trying too hard, distilling how through government propagation nations represent themselves and define citizenry.”

Halifax and Area

Generational mentorship comes to the fore in “How We Are Talking,” which has its first full day of exhibition June 30 at the Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing. Featuring works by emerging artists Anna Taylor, Sophie Paskins, Alice MacLean and Claudia Legg alongside those of their Visual Arts Nova Scotia mentors Becka Barker, Mathew Reichertz, Ian McKinnon and James MacSwain, artworks in the show touch on issues of queerness, craft, painting and more.


For the first half of July, Halifax-based artist D’Arcy Wilson is artist-in-residence at CBU Art Gallery, where she will be creating new work to exhibit in an upcoming fall exhibition. In a talk on July 6 at 6 p.m. at the James McConnell Memorial Library, Wilson will discuss her current artistic practice and work in progress.


Kwakiutl artist Mary Anne Barkhouse is known for her uncanny juxtapositions of the animal and the cultural, as well as intersections between. See how these manifest in a new public artwork at Toogood Pond that is being celebrated with a ribbon cutting on July 4 at 10 a.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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