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Must-Sees This Week: October 20 to 26, 2016

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 even more worthwhile shows that are already open.


The biannual Mountain Standard Time Performative Festival takes place from October 21 to 26 with a variety of events and exhibitions. Among them are Desearch Repartment’s absurdist neoliberal riffing at Stride on October 22 at 12 p.m.; Alana Bartol’s findings from a 174-kilometre walk tracing Calgary’s city limits, opening October 24 at 7 p.m. at the New Gallery; and James Luna’s ISHI: An Archive Performance on October 22 at 7 p.m. West Village Theatre, held in conjunction with Luna’s “Performagraphic,” opening at 8 p.m. the same evening at Truck.

October 22 also sees a celebration of Calgary’s wider art scene with tours (self-guided and otherwise) of 21 city galleries from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Among the highlights: a talk with Ron Moppett and Nancy Tousley at 11:45 a.m. at Trépanier Baer to celebrate the opening of Moppett’s new exhibition there.

Check out 10 public art proposals—including ones from the Laboratory for Integrative Design, Caitlind r.c. Brown, Wayne Garrett and Lane Shordee—for the new cSPACE King Edwards arts facility at an open house October 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Voltage Creative Garage.


The Biennale de Montréal continues its opening week of events on October 20 with receptions that day from 5:30 p.m. at Galerie de l’UQAM, from 7 p.m. at Livart, and from 8:30 p.m. at Optica, Dazibao and some of the biennale’s temporary spaces at 5445 de Gaspé. For our editorial team’s picks on what to see at this huge event, check our special feature article.

Toronto’s Public Recordings stage a rehearsal of its forthcoming journal, New Dramatics, a publication examining the state of contemporary performance text and the stakes of its appearance in print, on October 26 at 6 p.m. at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery.

The publication Post-Punk Art Now launches at Arprim at 5:30 p.m. on October 20, featuring works by Claudia Eve Beauchesne, Sylvain Bouthillette, Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf, Annie Baillargeon, Jacob Wren, and many others.

On the commercial-gallery front, a few shows of note are wrapping up October 22: Jim Verburg at Nicolas Robert is one; and Angela Grauerholz at Art45 is another.


Questions of sustainability and history come to the fore in “Living lightly on the earth,” which is having its official opening at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery on October 22 at 7 p.m. This exhibition explores the 1970s building of a structure called the Ark bioshelter for Prince Edward Island—a creation of Solsearch Architects and the New Alchemy Institute as “an early exploration in weaving together the sun, wind, biology, and architecture for the benefit of humanity.”

Then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Premier Alex Campbell, and Whole Earth Catalog compiler Stewart Brand were fans, with thousands more visiting the Ark in Spry Point, Kings County, over its short life. This timely exhibition unpacks the Ark’s mythic, visionary quality, as well as the type of optimistic action it might model towards the crises we face today.


Halifax-based artist and NSCAD alum Joanna Close will present an illustrated talk on design in contemporary and historic rugs on October 22 at 2 p.m. at the MSVU Art Gallery. The talk is part of the exhibition “Home Economics,” which looks at vernacular design and individual expression.

Jaime Black‘s REDress project—an homage to missing and murdered Indigenous women—closes at the Anna Leonowens Gallery on October 22, as do exhibitions by Alan Syliboy and Becka Barker.


With new Canadian mortgage rules coming into effect, and increasing talk about the unaffordability of housing in a growing number of Canadian cities, it seems timely for Vancouver-based artist Germaine Koh to launch her solo exhibition “Home Made Home” at the Kelowna Art Gallery on October 22.

Aimed at getting people to imagine other modes of living/housing, the two built elements in this exhibition insist on local materials (often recycled ones), modest scale and an eye to community. Find out more at the opening reception and artist talk from 2 to 4 p.m.


The Agnes Etherington Art Centre will present a public talk by Queen’s Koerner Artist-in-Residence Nadia Myre on the evening of October 26 at 7 p.m. A reception will follow.


As director/curator of Regina’s Dunlop Art Gallery, Jennifer Matotek has been at the helm of some compelling contemporary exhibitions. On October 23, she returns to her hometown of Grimsby, and the Grimsby Art Gallery, to present the lecture “Curating Collaborative: presenting contemporary art from myriad perspectives, together.” Talk starts at 2 p.m.


Local artist Christos Pantieras speaks about his dramatically installed exhibition at Gallery 101, and previous work, too, on October 22 from 2 to 4 p.m.


Elisapee Ishulutaq, one of Arctic Canada’s most prominent artists at 91 years of age, has created a major new drawing on the theme of youth suicide in the Far North. The massive work will be on display at Marion Scott Gallery from October 22 as part of the artist’s first solo exhibition in more than a decade. See it first at the opening reception that day from 2 to 4 p.m.

Equinox Gallery launches three new exhibitions on October 22 from 2 to 4 p.m.: Dreamy, colour-saturated pictures attract in “Image Window” by Los Angeles–based photographer Martin Elder, while three new works by recent RBC Canadian Painting Competition finalist Angela Teng are also on view alongside selections from an extensive new body of work by Étienne Zack. In the latter oeuvre, Zack paints uneasy landscapes (or are they interiors?) based on books and fluorescent lights, creating a particularly precarious and Borgesian bureaucratic architecture.

SFU Gallery and DIM Cinema present Experiments in Education, a selection of short films, at the Cinematheque on October 26 at 7:30 p.m. Raphael Bendahan’s Rochdale College, shot inside an 18-storey tower in downtown Toronto, is a contemporary document of a failed experiment in free education and communal living, while the University of Scarborough’s Brutalist campus doubles as the “Canadian Academy of Erotic Inquiry” in David Cronenberg’s first short feature, Stereo.

Alex Caldwell and Ben Skinner debut new works in an exhibition opening October 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Winsor Gallery.

In exhibitions wrapping up: Vanessa Brown’s show at Wil Aballe Art Projects closes on October 22.

Saint John

Marie Hélène Allain is one of New Brunswick’s most acclaimed artists. On October 23 at 2 p.m., she gives a talk at the New Brunswick Museum about her exhibition there, which spans 45 years of practice and includes stones and tree trunks as sculptural materials.

Toronto & Area

How can we reinvent publicly funded art institutions to better serve their artists and communities? Artist-run-centres are a crucial lifeline for emerging artistic practices and conversations, so how do we keep them vital? YYZ Artists’ Outlet and Onsite Gallery at OCAD University co-present a panel on these questions October 20 at 6 p.m. at OCAD.

The annual ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival—the world’s largest Indigenous screen event—hosts an art crawl October 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. with receptions and artist talks at several 401 Richmond galleries. Among the highlights are a 5:30 p.m. artist talk related to A Space’s Canadian exhibition premiere of Wairua by Rona Ngahuia Osborne and Dan Mace, featuring three video works connected by wairua, a Māori concept relating to the spirit or soul; a 5:30 p.m. artist talk related to Jay Soule’s CHIPPEWAR, which indigenizes the classic horror movie poster, in the A Space windows; an artist talk related to Gallery 44’s world premiere of Joar Nango’s Folding Forced Utopias For You and Tsēma Tamara Skubovius’s Ore Body at 6 p.m.; and world premieres at Trinity Square Video for “wnoondwaamin | we hear them,” a group show including work by Autumn Chacon, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Melissa General and Suzanne Morrissette, and featuring an performance by Frei Njootli at 6:30 p.m.

Elsewhere, LeRoi Newbold and Syrus Marcus Ware discuss Black Lives Matter Toronto for OCAD’s Kym Pruesse Speakers Series on October 26 at 7 p.m. Toronto-born, Berlin-based artist David Hanes has been busy of late erasing artworks from installation images of international exhibitions—see the uncanny results starting on October 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Birch Contemporary. Isabelle Hayeur lectures at Ryerson University on October 20 at 7 p.m. in relation to the exhibition “The Edge of the Earth: Climate Change in Photography and Video.” The 7a*11d festival continues until October 22 at various venues. Dance and performance curated by Tau Lewis, featuring Daniele Dennis, Erika De Freitas and more, happens October 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Xpace. And “Laura Moore: Curbside” opens October 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Zalucky Contemporary.

A closing reception for “Outdoor School” takes place at Doris McCarthy Gallery on October 22 from 2 to 5:30 p.m., including an artist talk at 3 p.m. by Jay White, who is wrapping up a four-day Coyote Walk around Scarborough greenspaces, and a pagan-inspired, queer-inflected, effigy-burning event led by Jamie Ross at 4 p.m.


Author and art historian Ross King discusses the ideas in his new book Madness and Monet on October 21 at 7 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Alberta.


The Art Gallery of Windsor opens three new exhibitions on October 21 at 7 p.m.: A career-first retrospective exhibition featuring the photographic works of Brenda Francis Pelkey; “The Long Time” is an exhibition of 21st-century art by Toronto artists Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak; and “Carl Beam: Four Directions” celebrates the influential titular artist of Anishinaabe and Euro-American heritage born on Manitoulin Island.


The newish art space Carl Louie hosts an exhibition with Kelly Jazvac, Jesse Chapman and Ben Bloomstein opening October 20 from 6 to 9 p.m.

In partnership with the +Positive Voice program and Nokee Kwe, Western University hosts Tulalip and Swinomish photographer Matika Wilbur on October 26 at 6 p.m. Wilbur will will share and discuss her current work, Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America, a national documentary project dedicated to photographing contemporary Indigenous life across North America. The talk will take place at International & Graduate Affairs Building Atrium.


“Naked Ladies: Censorship and the Nude in Canadian Modern Art, 1913 to 1945” is the title of a talk by Devon Smither that takes place at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery on October 20 at 7 p.m.


Memento, a workshop with Ed Pien, takes place October 22 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Part storytelling and part art-making, this hands-on workshop explores our relationship to objects, their affect, and the memory and narrative embedded in them.

South River

Soundscapes in the Dark, at Warbler’s Roost on October 22 at 8 p.m., presents sound works in a space that looks out into forest and sky. Includes work by James Bailey, Michelle Macklem, Dan Tapper and Darren Copeland, among others.

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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Anne-Sophie says:

Hi Canadian Art! Where is Québec city in your Must-Sees? There is a nice exhibition of Vicky Sabourin will start tomorrow at 8pm at l’Œil de Poisson.

Leah Sandals says:

Thanks, Anne-Sophie! Somehow this got lost in our files. We appreciate you flagging it.

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