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Must-Sees This Week: January 16 to 22, 2014

There are lots of great exhibitions opening across the country this week, and super art events happening too. Here are our best bets.

Art Mûr opens four exhibitions this week including a look at three generations of artists doing monochrome painting, including Neil Harrison, Claude Tousignant, and Barbara Todd, among others. The vernissage takes place January 18 from 3 to 5 p.m. Elsewhere, Battat Contemporary presents works by Jen Aitken and 2013 RBC Canadian Painting Competition winner Colleen Heslin, opening January 16 at 6 p.m. Premiering that same evening at Montreal, Arts Interculturels is “Seamless Crossings,” an exhibition of works by Vessna Perunovich—the artist who plays textile practices against permeable installation strategies. January 16 is also the first full day of Parisian Laundry‘s Valérie Blass exhibition, one of our top shows to catch this winter.

Althea Thauberger’s video installation Marat Sade Bohnice, originally presented at the Liverpool Biennial and recently shown in Toronto, makes its West Coast debut this week at SFU’s downtown Audain Gallery, while SFU also opens Damian Moppett’s “The Bells” at its Burnaby gallery from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on January 18. A new body of work in 16mm film, sound sculpture and cyanotype by Julia Feyrer debuts at Western Front on January 16 at 7 p.m. Multidisciplinary practices are also in the spotlight at Unit/Pitt‘s “Vancouver, Crawling, Weeping and Betting,” a six-week program of public actions, performance works and screenings staged Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting January 17. (The performance schedule for this first weekend includes a guided improvised city tour, among other attractions.) And GIF lovers should check out Winsor Gallery‘s exhibition “#paulwong2014,” which includes some 300 looping clips by the titular artist; opening reception is January 18 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Ryerson Image Centre begins its 2014 season with four exhibitions united by an undercurrent of documentary practices, including “Robert Burley: The Disappearance of Darkness” and “Elisa Julia Gilmour: Something in Someone’s Eye,” which consider the slow decline of analog photography. Opening reception is January 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. On a different analog front, TIFF presents the free program Hold Still – Keep Going: Films by Robert Frank, which kicks off with a screening of Cocksucker Blues, Frank’s little-seen Rolling Stones documentary, on January 17 at 6:30 p.m. and also includes Pull My Daisy, a short film featuring Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso with narration by Jack Kerouac. On the commercial scene, Ben Reeves debuts new works at Jessica Bradley on January 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., “Porcelain: Breaking Tradition” highlights ceramics by Clint Neufeld, Amélie Proulx and others at Division Gallery starting on January 16 from 6 to 9 p.m., and Paul Petro presents new paintings by Andre Ethier beginning January 17 from 7 to 10 p.m.

Architecture, urban design and sculpture are explored at the Esker Foundation through exhibitions by Cedric Bomford and Peter von Tiesenhausen that open January 17 at 6 p.m. A closing reception for Jeremy Pavka’s installation No More Bad Days in the New Gallery’s +15 Window on January 16 at 6 p.m. considers our cultural preoccupation with leisure and entertainment. And the impact of oil and gas industries on freshwater resources—a hot topic across the country, but often focused on Alberta—comes to the fore in a solo exhibition of new work by Tiffany Wollman opening January 17 at 8 p.m. at Avalanche!

Since 2003, Irish artist Sarah Pierce has used the term The Metropolitan Complex to describe her project—a terminology which aims to convey her comprehensive approach and working methods that open up to the personal and the incidental. Now, the Walter Phillips Gallery is opening the first of a trilogy of solo exhibitions for Pierce in Canada. Titled “Lost Illusions/Illusions perdues,” the project will continue to Mercer Union in Toronto and Gallery SBC in Montreal following its run in Banff. Opening January 17 at 6:30 p.m. with an artist’s talk, the WPG exhibition promises to engage with institutional histories at the Banff Centre ranging from 1970s to present.

The Canadian Forces Artists Program has brought dozens of contemporary artists into contact with military life in recent years, and on January 18 from 2 to 5 p.m. the MSVU Art Gallery opens an exhibition featuring three of them. “Terms of Engagement” includes works by nichola feldman-kiss (posted to Sudan in 2011), Dick Averns (posted to the Middle East in 2009) and Adrian Stimson (posted to Afghanistan in 2010). A talk by curator Christine Conley and a presentation by feldman-kiss will happen at the opening as well. Closer to downtown, the Dalhousie Art Gallery is launching “Capture 2014: Nova Scotian Realism,” an unusual survey of works created in the realist tradition including art by Adam Gunn, Steven Rhude and others. It’s co-curated by Tom Smart and Peter Dykhuis, and opens January 16 at 8 p.m.

Mary Pratt‘s touring survey opens at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection on January 18, including a conversation between the artist and curator Mireille Eagan at 3:30 p.m. The Same Problem, a collaborative project between Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay and Aleesa Cohene, launches at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery on January 17 from 8 to 10 p.m. “Artists’ Walks,” a Canadian-curated exhibition which received positive notice in New York earlier this year and includes works by Gwen MacGregor and Barbara Lounder, launches at the Art Gallery of Peterborough on January 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. with a performance by Don Gill and Lisa Myers. A related panel will also take place January 18 at 11 a.m. Last but not least, Keesic Douglas shows projects related to contemporary Aboriginal identity at the Orillia Museum of Art and History starting January 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. The exhibition includes two new photo series by the artist, who gained wide notice in 2010 when he paddled from his family’s reserve in Rama to Toronto’s main Hudson’s Bay store in order to trade back a blanket for furs.

Adad Hannah, renowned for contemporary photo and video restagings of classic paintings, will create new works with the help of the Prince George community alongside his new exhibition “Unfixed” at the Two Rivers Gallery. Upon completion, the new collaborative pieces will be installed alongside the other works in the show. Opening reception and artist talk is on January 16, 7:30 p.m. The Kamloops Art Gallery also opens three new exhibitions this week, all focused on the theme of the monstrous. “Beautiful Monsters: Beasts and Fantastical Creatures in Early European Prints” and “Picasso’s Beasts” both draw on the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, while “unlimited edition” looks to Indigenous representations of the otherworld through printmaking curated by Tania Willard. Opening reception takes place January 17 at 5:30 p.m.

These picks were chosen from press material sent to at least two days prior to publication. For listings of art openings, exhibitions and events, visit

This post was clarified on January 20, 2014. The original image caption did not include the name of the artist who made that work, or its title. 

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Nicole Collins says:

Who made the artwork in the lead photo for this piece?

Leah Sandals says:

Hi Nicole,

The work is by Jinny Yu, and it is titled Non-Painting Painting (2012). Thanks for asking! This information has now been added to the caption.

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