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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 August Art Guide

Suss by Milton Messam. Picture from
Suss by Milton Messam. Picture from

Between the lazy days of July and the first whisper of autumn in September, there’s the month of  August, where the sun sun still lingers high in the sky and students cram in as much activity as they can before returning to school.

If activities are what you’re looking for (both adults and kids alike), why not check out some art? Listed below are Novella’s picks for local art shows to check out in the month of August.

Au Courant (July 9 – August 27)
Abbozzo Gallery’s two-month rotating exhibition features paintings and sculptures from returning gallery artists such as Jennifer Walton and Karim Ghidinelli, and work from new artists Jiri Ladocha and Christina Sealey.

Between Land and Sky (July 20 – August 20)
The annual summer exhibition at the Olga Korper Gallery also features a mix of veteran and junior artists, from Reinhard Reitzenstein and Barbara Steinman to Mel Davis and Meaghan Hyckie. The theme of the exhibition is space, represented literally and metaphorically through the various works. The horizon, the passing of time and flight are just some of the images that can be seen in painting and sculpture.

TenderPixels.CorruptedFiles (July 21 – August 27)
This exhibition at the Birch Contemporary gallery investigates the intersection of visual art and technology with heavily pixelated images and the use of GIF files. The international show features work by David Hanes, Fabienne Hess, Lorna Mills and Louise Noguchi.

Milton Messam (July 21 – August 14)
To coincide with the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, Band Gallery is putting on the first Canadian exhibition of Milton Messam’s work. Messam is a Jamaican impressionist painter who has been capturing the scenery and people of Jamaica for 50 years.

Loon, Twit and Nitwit (August 3 – September 3)
Charles Street Video is putting on this multimedia group show focusing on how political agendas are conveyed through the media. Charles Street Video put out an open call for submissions in mid-July, asking for short films, video projections, animations and spoofs that are both humorous and politically charged. The finished exhibition promises to be a comedic, engaging look at political media through the works of local artists.

Novella’s July Art Guide

With Canada Day now past, we look ahead to the rest of July, a month full of heat, humidity and a little bit of leisure time. And what better way to fill that time than to take in some of the amazing local art Toronto has to offer? Here is a list of our recommendations for exhibitions you should check out in the month of July.

Tape Condition: Degraded (June 16 — September 18)

This exhibit at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay archives runs all summer long, with accompanying talks and events scheduled around it. Tape Condition: Degraded is an installation created with the CLGA’s collections of more than 3,000 VHS tapes, including queer porn and personal home movies. A working digital transfer station will also be running, to evoke the CLGA of the 1980s.

loud, INTIMATE (June 30 — July 31)

This exhibit by the Queer Trans Art Residency can be found at the Ryerson Artspace. The show is centered around ideas of empowerment, identity, and advocacy. Artists showing include Star, Kameron Payumo, and Mara Goldbloom.

Our Home On Native Land (July 1 — 14)

For half of the month, Ben Navaee Gallery is hosting some of Dianne Patychuk’s work. Patychuk’s sand and birch bark skylines are a poignant representation of broken land treaties and international relationships. Proceeds form the exhibit will go to the youth of the Neskantaga First Nation.

Eternal Sunshine (July 7 — July 30)

Yellow House Gallery’s summer exhibition promises whimsical and uplifting art for those hazy,  dreamy days of summer. Artists showing include Jessica Chen, Lisa Fox and Carol Steinberg. This is also Yellow House’s last exhibit before their break in August.

Glow Job (July 9 — 28)

What could be better than a glow-in-the-dark art exhibit? Contemporary art gallery The Flying Pony is hosting this show nearly all month, with a blacklight opening party on July 9th from 4-9 p.m.

Art Blast (July 15 — 31)

Art Blast is the mother of all local art events. For three weekends in July, Toronto art studios are open for free self-guided tours. This is a city-wide event and the perfect opportunity to take in as much art as you can handle. Visit their website to start planning a tour, or just wing it on the day of.

Making Connections (July 15 — September 3)

If you’re into urban planning, this is the one for you. This exhibit, curated by Park People and held in the Urban Space Gallery, presents eight principles for planning parks and open spaces in urban areas. It comes from a report by Park People, an independent city group dedicated to improving parks.