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Must-Sees This Week: February 27 to March 5, 2014

There are lots of great shows opening this week, and other art events happening too. Here are our best bets.

There is perhaps no bigger trend in photo-based art these days than testing photography’s relationship to sculpture. Internationally, artists such as Letha Wilson and Marlo Pascual have advanced the movement, while at home Owen Kydd and Jon Rafman have led the charge. Now, Calgary’s Tyler Los-Jones enters the fray in a show at the Banff Centre’s Eric Harvie Theatre opening on February 28. For it, Los-Jones took photos of Banff mountains, manipulated their prints in the studio and re-photographed the results to disorienting effect.

Montreal goes all-out, all-night this weekend with Nuit Blanche on March 1. Among the must-sees is Art Souterrain, an exhibition of more than 100 local, national and international artists that takes over various underground plazas and shopping centres starting on Nuit Blanche and continuing until March 16. Also notable this week is the opening of exhibitions by Nicolas Lachance and Thomas Bégin at Darling Foundry on February 27 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and the launch of .dpi 29, a feminist art journal, at La Centrale on February 28 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Print may be dying, mass-media-wise, but it lives on artistically in La Grande Vague ou la mémoire de l’eau salée, a monumental work of 2 metres by 10 metres created by the artist Marc Lincourt. In it, hundreds of books are arranged into the shape of a massive wave. See it now at the Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke, where a vernissage will take place on March 1 at 5 p.m.

There are several promising shows opening in Toronto this week. Leading the pack is Sarah Anne Johnson’s “Wonderlust” at Stephen Bulger Gallery, in which Johnson explores sexuality and intimacy in her signature altered-photography style. Reception is March 1 from 2 to 5 p.m. Another strong Winnipeg-based artist, Simon Hughes, has his first Toronto solo show in some time at Division Gallery; it pays homage to lost public art at the Winnipeg airport, among other subjects. That opens February 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. Shelley Adler’s paintings of women and men are striking, and new ones open at Nicholas Metivier Gallery on February 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. On the talks front, MOCCA and OCAD University present a lecture by New Yorker chief art critic Peter Schjeldahl on February 28 at 7 p.m. at the college’s main campus.

“Utopias Constructed” at Republic Gallery, opening February 27 from 6 to 8 p.m., examines the conditions under which “utopia” might be found through works by Abbas Akhavan, Kota Ezawa, Antonia Hirsch and Yedda Morrison. Edward Burtynsky—known for exposing the natural-landscape consequences of pursuing “the good life” as well—opens a show at the Vancouver Art Gallery on March 1. The show includes 34 works the artist recently donated to the gallery. Two conversations also intrigue this week: the first, a conversation with Glenn Lewis and Craig Sibley, takes place at Trench Gallery on February 27 from 7 to 8 p.m., while the second, by Triple Canopy’s Sarah Resnick, looks at art-crit publishing in the digital age on March 3 at 5 p.m. at Read Books.

Recently, national news outlets reported on how Quebec’s language enforcement agency ordered a Gatineau-area business owner to stop making Facebook posts in English—an example, perhaps, of how intense scrutiny around language in parts of our nation has become. On February 28 and March 1 at Open Space, the performance “Officially Bilingual/Officiellement bilingue” has two Quebec artists (Sylvette Babin and Rachel Echenberg) joining two BC artists (Serina Zapf and Will Thomas) for a performance. Though the title of the work plays on our national language policy, it also points to fluency in the language of gesture and live art.

Olia Mishchenko’s drawings are always a wonder, rendering impossible architectural constructions in clear, storybook-like, pen-and-ink lines. Now, a new series based on Oakville Galleries’ Gairloch Gardens debuts there on March 2 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Also opening at the galleries’ Centennial Square location from 2:30 to 3:30 is “The Talking Cure,” an international group show about therapy and anxiety curated by Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh. Featuring Andrea Fraser, Melanie Gilligan and Superflex, among others, it promises to reframe perceptions much as its titular inspiration does.

A new performance by Rebecca Belmore takes place on the streets of Winnipeg on March 1 from 2 to 4 p.m., with the results livestreamed to a projection at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Find out more about the project—which involves offering tea and bannock to passersby—at an artist talk March 2 at 2 p.m., also at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

With the anniversary of the beginning of World War I taking place this year, one can expect many exhibitions related to the topic of war and conflict. One worth taking a look at is “Terms of Engagement,” an exhibition at the MSVU Art Gallery of three artists who participated in the Canadian Forces Artist Project in recent years. Get a close-up look at the experience when Siksika artist Adrian Stimson delivers an artist talk at the gallery on February 28 at 7 p.m. about his work around Aboriginal people who have served in the armed forces.

As evidenced by recent changes at the Glenbow and MOCA Calgary, Cowtown is a city ever on the move—but at what cost? Tomas Jonsson, an artist based there, reflects on that legacy in “The Travelling Light,” a group exhibition that opens at the New Gallery on February 28 at 8 p.m. In it, Jonsson revisits his own family’s introduction to the city, as well as the Occupy Calgary movement and the detritus of his parents’ home, which was recently demolished to make way for a new development. Also included in the show are Jillian Fleck’s zines that quote the Calgary Arts Plan and vernissage chit-chat in equal measure; Kegan McFadden’s reflections on shifts in the city’s gay club scene; and more general works on loss such as Ehryn Torrell’s reproduction of her late mother’s last written correspondence and Nicole Kelly Westman’s “penny sister.”

These picks, published each Thursday, are selected from press material send to at least two days prior to publication. For listings of openings, exhibitions and events visit

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