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Shows to See Over the Holidays: December 21, 2017 to January 3, 2018

The list starts with “Entangled” at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Lots of great art exhibitions are taking place across the country over the holiday period. Here are our recommendations. Visit our Exhibition Finder for more listings of worthwhile shows that are already open.


Not to be missed at the Vancouver Art Gallery is “Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting,” running until January 1. This dynamic exhibition dives into contemporary painting practices in Canada, surveying how these practices diverge and converge into two specific modes—conceptual and material—as exemplified through the work of 31 artists. Of the artists featured include Rebecca Brewer, John Kissick, Francine Savard, Michael Snow, Ron Terada and Joyce Wieland. While at the VAG, make sure to also visit “Gordon Smith: The Black Paintings,” which displays a body of work Smith began in 1990 that pushes the boundaries of painting in its own way.


The Kamloops Art Gallery’s group show “Since Then” runs until December 30. Featuring heavy hitters like Kent Monkman, Rebecca Belmore, Cheryl L’Hirondelle and Dana Claxton, the exhibition positions survival at its centre, examining what this means in both historical and contemporary contexts.


Top exhibitions to see at the Glenbow over the holidays are “Higher States: Lawrence Harris and His American Contemporaries” and Calgary artists DaveandJenn’s “The Wellspring,” both on until January 7.


As a companion to the 2017 Canadian Biennial at the National Gallery of Canada, “Turbulent Landings: The NGC 2017 Canadian Biennial” is currently at the Art Gallery of Alberta. Featuring works in multiple mediums by both Canadian and international artists, this Alberta iteration is on until January 7. While at the AGA, make sure not to miss a new series of work by Alberta artist Faye HeavyShield in “Calling Stones (Conversations).”


If you haven’t already visited the new museum in the prairies, now is the perfect time. The Remai Modern currently has “Field Work” on display, its impressive inaugural show. Two projects acting as extensions of the exhibition are “Determined by the river,” a collaborative installation and event by Tanya Lukin Linklater and Duane Linklater and “Faces of Picasso: The collection selected by Ryan Gander.”


Over at the Dunlop Art Gallery, Catherine Blackburn’s “Tell Me the Truth” and Bridget Moser’s “Every Room is a Waiting Room” are both continuing until January.


The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s largest exhibition of contemporary Indigenous art ever, “INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE,” is a must-see this holiday season. Curated by Jaimie Isaac and Julie Nagam, the exhibition features 29 artists, including Jordan Bennett, Dayna Danger, Ursula Johnson, Kenneth Lavallee and Amy Malbeuf.


On at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the exhibition “Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters,” inspired by the famed filmmaker’s imagination, is in its last weeks and continues until January 7. Also at the AGO is “Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry,” the first major exhibition in Canada of this 20th-century artist. Over at the Royal Ontario Museum, get a taste of the dramatic with their two current exhibits “VIKINGS: The Exhibition” and “Christian Dior.”

Or spend an afternoon down by the lakeside at the Power Plant, where Amalia Pica’s exhibition “ears to speak of”—showcasing her new work Ears—as well as Michael Landy’s controversial “DEMONSTRATION” are currently on view. Further afield in Kleinburg, the McMichael Gallery presents a stop on the tour for Alex Janvier’s largest retrospective to date, on until January 21. Also not to be missed are Annie Pootoogook’s works in “Cutting Ice.”


Spend a day at the National Gallery of Canada where several comprehensive exhibitions are on display. First up is the 2017 Canadian Biennial, the fourth edition of its kind which, new this year, features international as well as Canadian artists. The longer-term exhibition “Canadian and Indigenous Art: 1968 to Present” showcases the different movements that have affected contemporary Canadian art. And organized by the Canadian Photography Institute, “Frontera: Views of the U.S.-Mexico Border” offers a timely view of border spaces.


The Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal has lots to enjoy this festive season. Nadia Myre’s “Tout ce qui reste – Scattered Remains” spans works created by the artist since 2000, and also premieres Myre’s new series Code Switching. “Once Upon a Time… The Western” is a multi-faceted exhibition exploring the Western film genre in connection to visual art and the creation of the Western myth. The eclectic artist roster includes Cindy Sherman, Wendy Red Star, Jackson Pollock, Brian Jungen and Adrian Stimson. Over at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, “Leonard Cohen: Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything” celebrates Cohen’s rich legacy, and features works by artists inspired by his oeuvre.


The work of two iconic abstract painters, Joan Mitchell and Jean-Paul Riopelle, come together in “Mitchell/Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation” at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Some 60 major works have been assembled to examine their respective artistic careers in terms of their relationship, from their first meeting in 1955 until their separation in 1979. Also worth a look: David Altmejd’s masterful large-scale installation The Flux and the Puddle, currently on a 10-year loan to the museum and now occupying a dedicated space in the Gérard-Morisset Pavilion.


A new bigger, better Beaverbrook Art Gallery opened this fall, and there are some prime shows to see there during the holidays. “Marlene Creates: Places, Paths and Pauses” is a retrospective of this senior Atlantic artist that has made its debut at the Beaverbrook in advance of a national tour, and it promises a strong overview of Creates’s sensitive, poetic and increasingly land-based practices. On a related note of sorts, Thaddeus Holownia’s “24 Tree Studies for Henry David Thoreau 2001–2003” offers a re-experiencing of Walden through a New Brunswick photo master’s detailed black-and-white prints.


Besides its permanent exhibition on Maud Lewis—about which a new book is being released—there is plenty to see at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia over the break. This includes the collaborative photo-based exhibition “Kepe’kek from the Narrows of the Great Harbour,” created with Indigenous youth artists and makers; a look at the work of locally based, nationally lauded editorial cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon; and the precision photography of “Harold Edgerton: The Man Who Made Time Stand Still.”


Warm up at the Rooms with a series of exhibitions themed around textiles, weaving and rug hooking. “Giorgia Volpe: Weaving the Existing” is a touring exhibition brings together 15 years of works by Brazilian-Canadian artist whose multidisciplinary practice often fosters relationships and dialogue—blending found materials as a metaphor for complex human relations, and inviting us to look differently at what already exists. “Home Economics: 150 Years of Canadian Hooked Rugs” introduces viewers to rugs made by nationally renowned painter Emily Carr; Grenfell Mission mats; and contemporary pieces by Nancy Edell, Heather Goodchild, and Yvonne Mullock, among others.

Selections for our weekly must-sees are chosen from press material sent to at least two days prior to publication.

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