We finally get to experience the buzz of going to an art gallery again – and there’s no better way to start than by visiting some exciting new works by homegrown talent. Whether you’re passionate about pastels or mad about mixed media, these seven new Canadian art exhibitions are sure to educate, inspire and delight.
Museums and art galleries are finally opening up across the country with inspiring new work from some of the Canada’s most innovative artists.
Spotlight: Sandeep Johal, Vancouver Art Gallery,
October 24, 2021 – October 16, 2022
Rising visual artist Sandeep Johal creates brilliantly bright murals and mixed media art. She uses her Indo‑folk feminine aesthetic, featuring fantastical goddess‑like women, to tackle issues of gendered violence and cultural identity. Johal’s work has been selected for Vancouver Art Gallery’s new Spotlight series and one of her murals will be featured in the gallery’s lobby. Johal is the first in a lineup of local artists who have been invited to participate in the project, designed to provide a platform for emerging artists based in B.C.
BRINK, Kelowna Art Gallery,
October 5, 2021 – January 16, 2022
Lake Country‑based artist Angela Hansen creates whimsical sculptures to highlight the impact human activity has on the planet. Her vibrant sculptures of colourful coral reefs are made using encaustic (paint mixed with beeswax) and biodegradable materials. Angela’s work takes gallery visitors beneath the ocean’s surface to appreciate the astonishing beauty and fragility of the flora and fauna found below.
How long does it take for one voice to reach another?, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,
September 11, 2021 – February 13, 2022
This multi‑media art exhibition, which features everything from a massive wooden megaphone to costumes made by French designer Thierry Mugler, explores the idea of finding connection after the long stretch of isolation that we have collectively endured. Love, loss, listening and reconciliation are some of the themes of this brand new permanent collection, which features contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds, including Betty Goodwin, Stanley Février, Rebecca Belmore and Niap (Nancy Saunders).
Greater Toronto Art 2021 (GTA21), Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto,
September 29, 2021 – January 9, 2022
In this museum‑wide art exhibition in Toronto, 21 artists from the GTA were asked to consider the question: What feels most urgent to you today? Out of this came GTA21, a display of artists whose imaginings of the city, society and world around them are as diverse as they are (80 percent identify as BIPOC). The art explores all that the metropolitan city is, and what it could be, expressed through various mediums, including architectural models, film, painting, printmaking and sculptures.
Robert Houle: Red is Beautiful, Art Gallery of Ontario,
December 3, 2021 – April 17, 2022
A masterful modern artist and creator of some of the most influential contemporary Indigenous art in Canada, the AGO retrospective of Robert Houle's work over the past 50 years is a must‑see. Through the use of organic materials – wood, rawhide, natural dyes – and Anishinaabe geometry, Houle highlights First Nations art histories and aesthetics while challenging the commercial appropriation of First Nations names and cultural performances by reworking colonial artworks from his own point of view. Houle also highlights Indigenous land rights and his personal experiences as a residential school survivor through a series of visceral paintings and drawings.
Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, Art Gallery of Alberta,
October 9, 2021 – January 30, 2022
Time and repetition are at the forefront of Harley Morman’s nostalgic exhibition that nods to Gen X middle school memories. The focus of the playful exhibition is retro “animations” of people made with lenticular imagery (the layering of two images to make it appear as though the image is moving) housed inside light boxes. As you walk through the gallery the images shift, illustrating how a change in perspective can alter how, and what, you see.
Tukien (Awaken), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia,
October 16, 2021 – February 13, 2022
Through his bright and colourful pop‑style portraits, Nelson White, a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band in Flat Bay, Newfoundland, celebrates Indigenous life through a contemporary lens. His vibrant brushwork and intricate line details showcase prominent Indigenous people, such as DJ Kookum and Meagan Musseau, with the goal of dissolving misinterpretations about the Mi’kmaq people. The exhibition’s name, Tukien, a Mi’kmaw word meaning “awaken” or a collective raising of consciousness, reflects White’s goal to establish a broader awareness of the creatives, activists and leaders featured in his exhibition.