Novella’s January Art Guide 2018

August Morning by Kazuo Nakamura. Image Source.

And just like that, it’s a new year.

We can’t tell you what this year will bring — if it will be easier or harder than the last, if all of our problems will magically be solved, or if anyone will find love.

What we can do is show you a good place to start your year off with a new crop of Toronto art exhibitions. This month we have a variety of shows, rather a mixed-bag of mediums and artists, but all promising the peace and thoughtfulness that inherently come with time spent with art.

WAX & WANE (JANUARY 3RD — 27TH)

Painting with wax is an old technique, so old that the first example of it we can find is from the 1st century BCE. Since then, popularity with the art form has ebbed and flowed, with different interpretations popping up. It returns again in 2018 with a new crop of artists inspired by the medium’s capacity to create incredible colour and dimension. This group show at Twist Gallery has artists pushing boundaries with the medium and finding modernity in an old technique.

Find more information here.

VARIATION AND AUTONOMY: THE PRINTS BY CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE PAINTERS (JANUARY 10TH — MARCH 29TH)

This show at the Japan Foundation is both an art exhibition and a history lesson. Here we see examples of printmaking by painters, which gained popularity among young Japanese artists in the 1970s and expanded on contemporary art. The exhibition looks at the history of the medium, back from its origins, post-WWII, and onwards. It also features works from what they consider to be “supporting players” in the movement as a way to showcase printmaking as an autonomous art form and re-examine its history.

Find more information here.

THE SUNSHINE EATERS (JANURY 10TH — APRIL 15TH)

Onsite Gallery’s newest exhibition brings more than a dozen artists together in an exploration of using nature to combat global crises. The show is about creating hope through plants, flowers, and trees, looking at old powers to find new meanings. Curated by Lisa Deanne Smith, the exhibition will include works by Nick Cave, Alanis Obomsawin, and Brian Jungen, to name a few. An exhibition like this is something everyone needs right now: a bit of positivity, a bit of nature.

Find more information here.

KAZUO NAKAMURA  (JANUARY 13TH — FEBRUARY 3RD)

The Christopher Cutts Gallery will be putting on this exhibition featuring work from the famous Japanese-Canadian artist known for his abstract paintings and sculptures. Nakamura’s paintings are simple in design but stunningly beautiful, often tied to Nakamura’s interest in science and mathematics. Overall, their effect is calming, the blues and greens he so often turns to creating a wave of quiet contemplation.

Find more information here.

COME UP TO MY ROOM (JANUARY 18TH — 21ST)

This year marks the 15th iteration of the Gladstone Hotel’s immersive art exhibition. Come Up to my Room will take over all four floors of the hotel during its limited run, offering a truly unique gallery experience. The exhibition itself acts as a conversation between artist, art, and viewers, and provides a challenge for the participating artists to produce works for such an unusual space. The list of participating artists this year is a hefty one, but curators Jana Macalik and Christophe Jivraj with Lukas Toane have put together a promising roster.

Find more information here.

Novella’s March Art Guide

We live our lives in dichotomies. We are strong and vulnerable, hateful and kind, generous and selfish. We are always reminiscing about the past yet always looking forward to the future. We are always surrounded by strangers but sometimes we feel completely alone. These contrasting ideas are an undeniable part of the whirlwind of human experience. If we weren’t ridiculously complicated, we wouldn’t be ourselves.

Our art picks for March examine some of these conflicting ideas. Some of them link experiences of the past to our current social climate, while others look to the future. One connects feelings of familiarity to alienation and one is a harsh wake-up call to our relationship with cycles of consuming and discarding.

These are all very different exhibitions, but in their own ways they are each asking questions about our past, present, and future.

BLACK FUTURE MONTH 3017 (FEBRUARY 11TH — APRIL 4TH)

When times are as complex and difficult as ours is now, the gaze shifts to the past for context and the future for hope for change. For the Black community, part of that examination of the past is linked to Black History Month; and a glimpse to the distant future can be found in Black Future Month 3017, a group show being held at The Public through March. The Afrofuturism Art Exhibition’s purpose is to envision the world 1000 years from now through the eyes of Black artists. If you’re thinking you’ll find some sci-fi elements present, you’re not wrong, but those will be rooted in the context of our current reality and matters of identity and culture.

Find out more here.

LAURA JONES AND JOHN F. PHILLIPS (FEBRUARY 23RD — MARCH 5TH)

Some of the most powerful photographs in existence are those of protest. Such raw emotion and powerful imagery can’t be found anywhere else. Think of recent photos from the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter marches. The emotions these pictures can inspire are incredibly strong. In the current exhibition at Unlovable on Dundas West, the works by the late John F. Phillips, depicting protests in Canada and the U.S. in the 60s and 70s, will be shown with works from Canadian photographer Laura Jones. While Phillips’ pictures are 40 to 50 years old, the current political and social climate makes them relevant to us today.

Find out more here.

SUSAN AVISHAI (FEBRUARY 26TH — MARCH 10TH)

In recent years, the term ‘fast fashion’ has gained a lot of attention through the public’s exposure to the workings of fashion companies that produce large amounts of cheap clothing through exploitative labour overseas. Susan Avishai puts her own spin on this topic in her solo show at the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre. Avishai’s fibre art works use men’s shirts taken from thrift stores to represent our troubling relationships to clothing and textile. These structures created from castoffs demonstrate just a fraction of the amount of clothing and textile we dispose of without a thought.

Find out more here.

STANZIE TOOTH: THE DISTANCE OF THE MOON (MARCH 9TH — APRIL 8TH)

Canadian artist Stanzie Tooth’s latest exhibition features works tied together under the themes of familiarity and alienation. These contrasting emotions and states of being are, of course, a big part of the human experience, and it’s clear to see, when looking at Tooth’s paintings, how the feeling of isolation in common spaces is evoked. The ability to convey these ideas through abstract paintings showcases Tooth’s artistic talent perfectly. This is Tooth’s third solo show at the General Hardware Contemporary and promises to be thought-provoking and intriguing.

Find out more here.

VESSNA PERUNOVICH: SHIFTING SHELTER (MARCH 11TH — APRIL 1ST)

It has been said that the universal story of humanity is one of migration. But now it is an ongoing political issue that has leapt to the forefront of our social consciousness due to the refugee crisis in Syria and recent events in the United States. Because of the difficulties immigrants face today, their stories and stories of past immigrants are being heard around the world. Vessna Perunovich tells her own story of immigrating from Serbia in the 1980s through an interactive installation at Angell Gallery. Perunovich tells her interpretation of this story by connecting her personal experiences in the past to what’s happening right now.

Find out more here.

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.