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Must-Sees This Week: February 2 to 8, 2017

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.


Playwright Jordan Tannahill, who won the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Drama, will read from his book Theatre of the Unimpressed: In Search of Vital Drama and his play Sunday in Sodom at the University of Victoria on February 6 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and at Open Space on February 7 at 7:30 p.m. Canadian artists working on paper, including Meghan Hildebrand, Shuvinai Ashoona and Tim Pitsiulak, form the focus of “Pulp + Process II,” which opens at Madrona Gallery on February 4 at 1 p.m.

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has a number of worthwhile programs and events this week: an admission by donation day on February 7; three drop-in tours of “Life with Clay: Pottery and Sculpture by Jan and Helga Grove” led by curator Allan Collier on February 7 at 2 p.m.; and a lecture by Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura of the Museum of Anthropology at UBC on Asian art and anthropology on February 8 at 3 p.m. Victoria painter Neil McClelland looks at visions of utopia and dystopia at Deluge Contemporary Art in a show opening February 3 at 7 p.m.


Miranda Crabtree and Mia Sandhu explore the relationship between women and their environment in “I’m Right Where You Left Me,” opening at Hamilton Artists Inc. on February 4 at 2 p.m. Also opening at that time at the Hamilton Artists Inc.: “Ignition 5,” a showing of the artist-run centre’s Award for Distinction in the McMaster Studio Art Program, which this year goes to Kristina Durka, Stephanie Grant and Jonathan Mitchell.

Toronto and Area

8-11 opens a show “Cyphers, tissue, blizzards, exile,” featuring photographs and mixed-media work by Tau Lewis (who was recently profiled in a Canadian Art studio-visit video) on February 2, with a reception, including an artist talk and tour, from 7 to 11 p.m. As part of “Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience,” Kent Monkman’s latest solo show that offers a critique of Canada’s colonial history at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the artist will offer a curatorial tour on February 4, at 2 p.m. Monkman has a busy week: he’ll also give the Kym Pruesse Speaker Series lecture at OCAD University on February 8 at 7 p.m.

The Studio for Media Activism and Critical Thought hosts a talk on art-making and creative resistances against anti-black, state-sanctioned violence, with Syrus Marcus Ware, Hibaq Gelle and Hawa Y. Mire, moderated by artist Deanna Bowen, on February 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Eaton Lecture Hall. “No Justice, No Peace: From Ferguson to Toronto,” a photographic exhibition produced by BAND Gallery and Cultural Centre highlighting resistance from black communities towards police brutality, opens February 2 at the Gladstone Hotel’s second floor, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Aga Khan Museum opens “Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians,” which brings together 23 Iranian artists curated by Dr. Fereshteh Daftari, on February 4, with a curator’s talk at 2 p.m. “Unpredictable Patterns,” which includes work by Honduras-born, Toronto-based artist Nahum Flores, NSCAD graduate Ilyana Martinez and self-taught artist Erik Jerezano, opens at Sur Gallery on February 2 at 7 p.m.

At Y+ Contemporary, works by Stephanie Wu and Danika Kimberly So, which aim to “make space and time for queer first generation Chinese-Canadian folx from Toronto and GTA suburbs,” opens on February 4 at 2 p.m. Stan Denniston’s exhibition “re-new it” features work that came to him in an unusual fashion—through his work as a restorer of sculpture in the Inuit art community. See the results at Olga Korper Gallery beginning February 4 at 2 p.m. Though known primarily as a documentary filmmaker, Katherine Knight also has a photo practice, part of which goes on view at Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects on February 4.


“Together We Rise,” opening at Station Gallery on February 4 at 1 p.m., focuses on art by black Canadians and the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, including work by Amira Alamary, Getachew Fantu, Georgia Fullerton, Ian P. Grant, Sheryl Keen, Charmaine Lurch and Sherry Prenevost.


Can’t make it to Venice this year? You’re in luck: Evan Penny, who will have a solo exhibition, “Ask Your Body,” at the Chiesa di San Samuele Venice during the Biennale, has a showing in Trépanier Baer’s viewing room opening February 4 at 2 p.m. It will include a model for a larger sculpture that will be on view in Venice. Also opening at Trépanier Baer on February 4: an exhibition of diverse photography by Vikky Alexander, IAIN BAXTER&, Fred Herzog, Geoffrey James and Danny Singer. Photography also gets a showing at Christine Klassen Gallery with Sarah Fuller’s work, opening February 4 (followed later by a reception on the 18th at 1 p.m.), alongside “7 Cameras,” featuring works by Diana Thorneycroft, Kevin Boyle and others.


At the Dunlop Art Gallery on February 6, “Prairie (Magic) Realism(s)” brings together artists Amanda Strong, Brett Bell, Deco Dawson, Chrystene Ells, Danishka Esterhazy, Lacy Morin-Desjarlais, Michele Sereda, Trudy Stewart and Janine Windolph to look at the relationship between magic, non-fiction and the real world in Western Canadian art films.


Four women artists—Yael Brotman, Libby Hague, Laura Vickerson and Gisele Amantea—who all work with labour-intensive installations, are brought together for “Fabrications,” opening at the Kelowna Art Gallery on February 3 at 7 p.m.


A group of Vancouver institutions have partnered to put on “What’s at Stake? Intertextual Indigenous Knowledges,” which will be held at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre at Simon Fraser University on February 4 from 12 to 5 p.m. The afternoon will include talks by experts including Richard Hill, Marianne Nicolson and Charlotte Townsend-Gault; a panel discussion with Indigenous artists, scholars and curators; and a spoken-word performance by Nuu-chah-nulth/Kwakwaka’wakw poet Valeen Jules.

The Foreshore’s series of presentations and discussions by scholars continues with a session featuring Seattle-based artist Buster Simpson talking about aesthetics and curiosity and UBC professor Coll Thrush on cites, power and survivance, on February 7 at 7 p.m. Peter Aspell’s vibrant paintings, which had several showings around the city in 2016, go on view at Gallery Jones on February 4 at 2 p.m.


Beginning at 6 p.m. on February 6, Lido Pimienta will deliver an artist talk at the Khyber Centre for the Arts on her practice as an artist and curator. Alongside the talk, a 4-day pop-up from February 6 to February 9 will feature prints, illustration, ceramics, and textile work by Pimienta for sale. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will open “The Nature of Nature: The Photographs of Thaddeus Holownia, 1976–2016” on February 4 including more than 180 photographs by Thaddeus Holownia which explore the history of place and photography as a medium.


On February 3 from 6 to 8 p.m., the Cape Breton University Art Gallery hosts the reception for “Photomatic Travelling Tintype Studio,” a series of portraits by artist and educator Karen Sentaford using the 19thcentury technique of tintype.


This week sees the opening of two solo exhibitions and an artist talk in Montreal and surrounding area. Emily Pelstring’s “Scotopia” opens at La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse on February 3 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. and a performance at 7 p.m. The exhibition “Tomorrow People” by Skawennati, which explores concepts of time and self through the artist’s multiple avatars, launches OBORO’s year-long Indigenous programming with a reception at 5 p.m. on February 4. Finally, artist Lisa Lipton will give a guided tour of her exhibition “The Impossible Blue Rose” at Diagonale from 3 to 4 p.m. on February 4.


On February 4, the Musée d’art de Joilette opens a survey of Marion Wagschal’s recent paintings and large-scale drawings.


On February 2, the School of Art Gallery at the University of Manitoba hosts the opening reception from 4:30 to 6:30 for “Ione Thorkelsson: Synthia’s Closet,” with a talk by Ione Thorkelsson following the reception. Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery presents “Colour Wheel,” a solo exhibition by Wally Dion using colour as a coding method to visualize the impact of civilization on the environment; a reception will take place in the main gallery on February 3 from 8 to 11 p.m. Also opening on February 3 from 8 to 11 p.m. in Urban Shaman’s Marvin Francis Medial Gallery is Barry Ace’s “Niibwa Ndanwendaagan (My Relatives),” featuring a series of contemporary Anishinaabe digital honouring bandolier bags fitted with capacitors, resistors and light-emitting diodes.

As part of the ongoing exhibition “Moving Images,” Gallery 1C03 presents “Women’s Pictures, Women’s Lives” screening from February 6 onwards with films by Danielle Sturk, Danishka Esterhazy and Deborag Schnitzer among others.


On February 3 and 4 from 6 to 8 p.m, the Ottawa Art Gallery and Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival present “Unikkaaqtuarniq: Stories from the North,” an outdoor screening in Landsdowne Park focused on Indigenous filmmaking from the Arctic. Make sure to catch two free screenings of Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s Angry Inuk, which recently won Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival People’s Choice Award, on February 5 at 1:30 p.m. and February 6 at 9:20 p.m. at ByTowne Cinema.

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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Michelle Pringle says:

I would love for you all to check out my Canadian art in Fort St. John, BC. I have built a full sized driftwood Moose and he now resides in Peace Gallery North for the My Canada Exhibition show this February. I have a video clip of him from a local news station and another link to our local newspaper where we made front page news on my Facebook page Drifters. You can find it directly with the web address I’m just really excited to share Sturgill the moose with you and possibly Canada!! He truly represents Canada :)

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