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Must-Sees This Week: May 28 to June 3, 2015

Lots of great art exhibitions open across the country this week. Here are our recommendations. (And remember to visit our Exhibition Finder for worthwhile shows that are already open.)


Sonia Haberstich’s Skin, a textile installation with painted canvases, pieces of knitwear and more, opens in Truck Contemporary Art’s window space on June 1. Ron Thom’s midcentury brand of balanced, clean architectural lines gets some attention at Nickle Galleries on June 2 at 5 p.m., with a new exhibition that looks at his career, tracing his relationship with his mentors at the Vancouver Art School, Jack Shadbolt and Bert Binning. Contemporary Calgary hosts an artist talk and installation demo by Montreal-based artist Dominique Pétrin on May 31 at 2 p.m.


The Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s programming takes a testosterone-driven turn with their new group exhibition, “Boxing: The Sweet Science,” which goes on view on May 30 and features work by Harold Town, Kristan Horton and others. Public sculpture is hit and miss—the backlash against Calgary’s Travelling Light by Swedish group inges idee is a kind of high-water mark for how badly things can go—but there’s no doubt that Noel Harding’s work Reverb, presented by the Robert McLaughlin Gallery and the City of Oshawa, at the General Motors Centre on June 1 at 7:30 p.m., will go over a little more smoothly. The 19-foot tall sculpture celebrates the city’s involvement in this year’s PanAm/Parapan Am Games.


The season of exhibitions changes over at Mercer Union, where the galleries are being handed over to Toronto collective VSVSVS and Montreal-based artist Karen Kraven; both open on May 29 at 7 p.m. Martin Arnold revisits John Cage’s work 45′ for a Speaker at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery on June 3 at 7:30 p.m.; a chance-derived lecture, the piece has structural ties to Cage’s musical work. To celebrate their 40th anniversary, the Textile Museum of Canada presents a lecture with Dr. Blake Gopnik on Andy Warhol and the art of textiles on June 3 at 6 p.m. Scott Conarroe, the romantic behind the Ryerson Image Centre’s show “Canada By Rail and By Sea,” leads a tour of the exhibition on June 3 at 6 p.m. Subtle Technologies, a Toronto institution for the art-and-science crowd, has a wide range of programming throughout the week, including workshops, talks and an exhibition. BEC Platform, an incubator for emerging artists, makes its way to the Toronto location of Barbara Edwards Contemporary with a launch celebrating Shawn Evans on May 30 at 3 p.m. Dave Dyment and Marc Hundley open new exhibitions on May 30 at 2 p.m. at MKG127.


Taking up the topic of identity—its manifestations and resistances—“Spirit Gum,” which opens at the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s downtown location on May 29 at 7p.m., has a knockout lineup: Claude Cahun, Gilbert and George, Carole Itter, Shana Moulton, Skawennati, Krista Belle Stewart and others.


Geoffrey Farmer’s highly anticipated mid-career survey, “How Do I Fit This Ghost in My Mouth?” opens at the Vancouver Art Gallery on May 30. Over 1600 pieces of work by Garry Neill Kennedy will go on view at the Charles H. Scott Gallery on June 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tyler Coburn, currently artist-in-residence at the Western Front, presents a talk about his project I’m that angel on May 28, at 8 p.m. at the Grand Luxe Hall. If your bookshelves have been feeling a little sparse, consider yourself in luck: Contemporary Art Gallery, Access Gallery, Fillip, New Documents, Presentation House Gallery, Or Gallery and Western Front are banding together to create the greatest art-book sale in Vancouver (at least until the Vancouver Art/Book Fair this fall) on May 28 beginning at 5 p.m. at Access Gallery. In a slightly unconventional move, the Apartment is putting on an exhibition of another gallery’s stable of artists; partnering with Creative Growth in Oakland, California, they will show a group of their artists and discuss the gallery’s accomplishments. At the same time, the Apartment will show some of Colter Jacobsen‘s recent work, which begins to incorporate collage and sculpture—both open on May 28 at 6 p.m. An exploration of ceremonial rites forms the core of Sascha Yamashita exhibition “Secret Sacred Ritual,” opening at the Robert Lynds Gallery on June 2 at 7:30 p.m. Paul Housley’s intimate, domestic scenes open at Monte Clark Gallery on May 30 at 2 p.m. SFU catches up with its own history in “Through a Window: Visual Art and SFU 1965–2015,” an exhibition spread across the SFU Gallery, Audain Gallery and Teck Gallery, opening on June 3 at 6 p.m. at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre.


In “The Cultivated Landscape,” which opens at CK2 on May 29 at 6 p.m., Brad Tinmouth explores methods for “‘greening’ your environment,” and invites visitors to contemplate paintings by Brian Rideout, Nick Bierk and Stephanie Hier. At the McClure Gallery, Sue Rusk picks up on a perennial favourite, flowers, in “Ephemera,” which opens on May 28 at 6 p.m. François Simard‘s bright, colourful canvases open at Galerie Laroche/Joncas on May 30 at 3:00 p.m. In “Première impression,” which goes on view on May 30, Arprim showcases new talents from the finalists of the Albert-Dumouchel Prize for Emerging Artists. The largest exhibition of Rodin’s work shown in Canada opens at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this weekend—with almost 300 works, “Metamorphoses” is not to be missed.

Prince Edward County

Figurative painter John Richard Fox has an exhibition of work opening at Oeno Gallery on May 30 at 4 p.m. followed by a lecture on his life and work by Sandra Paikowsky, art historian and Fox’s partner, on May 31 at 4 p.m.


Comic books, and art that takes an illustrative approach, gets a showing at the Art Gallery of Windsor this summer with three shows opening on May 29 at 7 p.m. William Kurelek’s often deliberately naïve, but meticulously detailed, works open in “A Prairie Boy’s Summer,” alongside a show of Alex Ross’s comic-book art and a group exhibition of comics by David Collier, David Finch, Jeff Lemire and Kagan McLeod.


A whole selection of programming surrounding Tribe Inc.’s 20th Anniversary has opened over the last couple of weeks, and this week the Mendel Art Gallery gets into the fray with the a reception for “The Fifth World,” an exhibition that looks hopefully at a “new consciousness within humanity,” on May 28 at 8 p.m. The occasion is also a kick-off celebration for all of the anniversary festivities. Aka artist-run hosts a reception for projects by Dana Claxton, Bear Witness and Edward Poitras on May 29 at 7 p.m., and Le Relais hosts a panel series on May 29 and 30, addressing contemporary Indigenous art in Canada, with a keynote by Daina Warren.


Brad Isaacs makes beautiful art about animals, much in the way that Henri Rousseau did (and his prints, in particular, resonate formally with Rousseau’s). Isaacs’s new exhibition, “The Visible Universe, Including the Fires of Hell” has an opening reception alongside “Passions of the Eye: Exceptional Works from 12 Hamilton and Region Private Collections” on May 30 at 2 pm. at the McMaster Museum of Art.


The Jack Bush retrospective travelling from the National Gallery of Canada offers a fascinating portrait of the artist, and neatly illustrates Canada’s freighted relationship with Modernism. It travels to the Art Gallery of Alberta, opening with a members’ reception on May 29 at 7:30 p.m. The following day, May 30, the exhibition’s co-curators, Marc Mayer, also the director of the National Gallery of Canada and Dr. Sarah Stanners, the director of curatorial collections at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, discuss the lesser-known aspects of the artist at 10:30 a.m.


We were worried, in the wake of “Yesterday Was Once Tomorrow (or, A Brick is a Tool),” but we needn’t have been. Plug In ICA is hosting a talk in partnership with núna(now) by visiting artist and public figure Gudmundur Oddur Magnusson (Goddur) on May 28 at 7 p.m. A professor at the Academy of the Art in Reykjavik, Goddur maintains a semi-commune in an old factory in Seydisfjördur and is described as a “storyteller, shamanist and a satanic priest.” Gallery 1C03 opens an exhibition featuring work by faculty, staff and students of the University of Winnipeg on May 28 at 3:30 p.m.


The droll work of Bridget Moser goes on view at MSVU Art Gallery in “Is this thing on?,” her first solo show in Atlantic Canada. It begins on June 3. Also at MSVU Art Gallery, second-wave feminism gets a shout out in “An Intimate Distance,” a show featuring work by Andrea Ward, Glynis Humphrey and Suzanne Swannie, who each play with the avoidance of depiction of women’s bodies.


If “An Intimate Distance” in Halifax focus on aniconism in relation to women’s bodies, the Ottawa Art Gallery launches a divergent project with an exhibition of pioneering artist Mary E. Wrinch, which looks at female self-representation and opens on May 30. At the National Gallery of Canada, Ann Thomas, curator ofLuminous and True,” gives a tour on May 29 at 12 p.m. Artist Robert Hengeveld gives a talk at the Karsh-Masson Gallery in conjunction with the show “BioART: Collaborating with Life” at May 31 at 2 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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