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Must-Sees This Week: December 1 to 7, 2016

Lots of great art exhibitions opening and events taking place across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for debuting shows and events, and a few reminders about shows that are ongoing or closing. Visit our Exhibition Finder for even more worthwhile shows that are already open.

Vancouver and Area

The Vancouver Art Gallery‘s new triennial exhibition “Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures” opens December 3 with works by 40 artists including Alison Yip, Charlene Vickers, Tamara Henderson and Lyse Lemieux, among others. (For the full artist list, read our news post about the triennial.) Find out more at a curators’ tour with Daina Augaitis and Jesse McKee on December 6 at 7 p.m. Also opening at the gallery this week: Sonny Assu‘s interventions into the work of Emily Carr in the exhibition “We Come to Witness.” Assu also gives a artist tours of the show on December 3 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

To mark the closing of its current exhibition “Screens and Thresholds,” Presentation House Gallery hosts a chat between Jordan Wilson and Raymond Boisjoly about the institutional framing of contemporary Indigenous cultural practices on December 4 at 2 p.m. The West Vancouver Museum reflects on a decade of collecting art with a tour by curator Darrin Morrison, who will speak about the collection, which includes work by Christos Dikeakos, Fred Herzog, Gordon Smith, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and others, on December 3 at 1 p.m.

The Cinematheque remembers influential experimental filmmaker Marie Menken with a screening of her works, including Andy Warhol, Hurry! Hurry! and Mood Mondrian on December 7 at 7:30 p.m. The 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival is over, but screenings continue apace, with this week’s offerings including Nettie Wild’s KONELĪNE: our land beautiful, a winner of the 2016 Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award from Hot Docs, playing at 11:45 a.m. on December 1. Jesse McNeil’s collage-based work goes on view in “Travellers” at Elissa Cristall Gallery on December 1 at 5 p.m.


At the Banff Centre on December 1 at 5 p.m., Walter Phillips Gallery launches “A light left on,” a group show featuring work by artists including Rebecca Baird, Maryanne Barkhouse, Rebecca Belmore, Patricia Deadman, Shelley Niro, Ed Poitras, Greg Staats and Jeannie Ziska, which was curated by Becca Taylor, as a part of the gallery’s Indigenous Research and Administration Practicum. The following day at 1 p.m., Patricia Deadman will give an artist talk.

Nadia Myre, the Sobey-winning Montreal-based artist, will give a talk at the Banff Centre as a part of the Visual Art Lecture Series on December 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Building.


On December 3, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery will open the first two of its winter exhibitions: Anton Ginzburg’s “Blue Flame: Constructions and Initiatives” and Miruna Dragan’s “Another Name for Everywhere.” Ginzburg’s solo show will screen Turo, the third instalment in his trilogy of films exploring post-Soviet geography and constructivist architecture by way of video-game footage and digital abstraction. Dragan’s site-responsive work, on the other hand, will showcase her range of studio research, from lens-based media to site-specific intervention, to evoke metaphysical themes of dispersion, immanence and transcendence.


December 6 marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The Mississauga Civic Centre will host a series of free live performances, a vigil and an installation of women’s shoes on the day at 5 p.m. to honour all the lives lost from gender-based violence.

December 3 will see the closing of “I stood before the source,” an exhibition focused on representations of capitalism and its effects, featuring the works of artists including Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Abbas Akhavan, Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen and Public Studio, at the Blackwood Gallery.


We’re launching the Winter 2017 issue of Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday event December 1 with talks, music and more. Also at the AGO this week: Belgian-born, Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs, whose work often delves into geopolitics and urgent social issues, opens “A Story of Negotiation,” on December 6 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m., beginning by a curator’s tour and artist Q&A at 6 p.m.

Shinobu Akimoto and Matthew Evans, co-directors at the Residency For Artists On Hiatus, will meet for a talk about “artists not making art” at OCAD University on December 2 from noon to 1 p.m.

“Art & Inactivism,” a solo exhibition at Angell Gallery questioning the relevance of art in the contemporary political discourse, will feature three new installation works by Mitchell F. Chan, and starts December 2. Birch Contemporary opens two solo shows December 1 from 6 to 8 p.m: Louise Noguchi’s “The Searchers,” which includes video and drawings that attempt to parse nature and artifice, and Sean Ross Stewart’s “New Works,” which “will combine muck with paint, scraps with sculpture, meditating on concepts of disposability and decay.”

At 8-11, Chris Willes opens the sound-art exhibition “Every sound is a small action and broke world,” which considers the relationship between experimental music and politics, and includes a publication with contributions by Christine Sun Kim and Hildegard Westerkamp.


Erik Olson opens a showing of intimate portraits, depicting peers, friends and himself, at Michael Gibson Gallery on December 2. The show will have a reception on December 3 at 2 p.m. A group of shows worth seeing in the city also recently opened: At DNA Artspace, drop by until December 22 to see more than 60 artists from London and Canada in “Plexus,” wherein artists were invited to collaborate with a partner of their choice, using a sheet of graph.

“Heavy Metal,” on at Carl Louie until December 18,  features some fairly industrial materials and work by artists including Lukas GeronimasSara Greenberger Rafferty and Hayley Silverman. Forest City Gallery kicks off their annual members’ show with an opening reception on December 2 from 6 p.m. on.


Galerie René Blouin opens two exhibitions: Simon Bertrand’s “The Beginnings” and a showing of work by Mathieu Grenier starting December 3. Catherine Lalonde, whose work is included in the current exhibition “I’d rather something ambiguous,” gives a public reading at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery on December 6, beginning at 6 p.m.


Berlin-based Canadian artist Shanon Bool’s first solo exhibition in Calgary, “The Eastern Carpet in the Western World Revisited,” is now on view at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery. Borrowing a title from a 1983 exhibition, “The Eastern Carpet in the Western World,” which ran at London’s Hayward Gallery, Bool looks at the “complex relationship between Oriental carpets and Western art.”

Peter von Tiesenhausen’s “the watchers – 20 years later” picks up on five large, charred wooden sculptures created 20 years ago by Tiesenhausen to raise questions about environmental damage. Now, two decades on, the works return to Calgary with the addition of video-based works and documentaries opening at Jarvis Hall Gallery December 2 at 5 p.m., followed by an artist talk on December 3 at 2 p.m.


Winnipeg-based multimedia artist Doreen Girard’s visuals will accompany a live sound performance by Andrea Roberts in BEACONS, which begins at the Plug In ICA on December 1 at 8 p.m.

“There’s More Than One Way,” an exhibition produced in collaboration with the twentieth anniversary of the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, closes this week with a curator’s tour on December 1 at 4 p.m. at the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba.


Hannah Doerksen and curator Kristy Trinier will talk about Doerksen’s current exhibition, “A Story We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves,” at the Art Gallery of Alberta. The pair will discuss the artist’s use of themes like isolation, shame and vanity, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on December 2. Harcourt House Artist Run Centre opens an exhibition of 30 sculptures, which represent “an imaginary museum collection of objects from his own dreams” by installation artist John Graham on December 1 at 7 p.m. Also opening at Harcourt House on December 1 at 7 p.m.: Marcie Rohr’s “Now You See Me,” which offers “a compelling story of personal history of her family.”

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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