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 April Toronto Art Guide

For the month of April, we invite you to consider perspective: new perspectives or looking at something from a different one. Art is allows us to engage with perspectives we may not normally encounter, to use metaphor as a way to connect and understand. While these exhibitions are all vastly different in content, they will really make you consider your own point of view in contrast with that of those around you.


It shouldn’t be too hard to see wrestling as a tool for storytelling. Consider the luchadores of Lucha libre from Mexico: the masks, the dramatics, the history. Wrestling is, at its core, bodies interacting with other bodies and communicating through movement.

The League of Lady Wrestlers aren’t aiming to tell stories in their exhibition at the Gladstone Art Hut, but their goal is to convey ideas about feminine identity and empowerment through wrestling performances set up in the hut and a documentary by one of the league members. Intrigued? We certainly are.

Find more information here.


Think, for a moment, about every relationship you have online. Now consider what would happen if your interactions within those relationships occurred in real life. That’s part of the thought process behind the group exhibition at the Xpace Cultural Centre this month. The interactive exhibit, a collaboration between Ronnie Clark, Marlon Kroll, Sophia Oppel, and Timothy Truong, aims to construct a new reality around participants based on connections and constant feedback. The installation is looking at something we are only just beginning to skim the surface of in our own society: the ethics of the Internet and its consequences in real life.

Find more information here.


Japanese artist Naoko Matsubara will be the featured artist at Abbozzo Gallery for the month of April. Matsubara’s reputation as a skilled printmaking artist precedes her, with accolades from Carnegie Mellon University and a previous teaching position at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Matsubara’s work is absolutely stunning and demands to be seen in person. Luckily for us, we’ll have the chance for a whole month.

Find more information here.


Most of you are probably familiar with the phantom limb; the idea when the person who loses a limb is haunted by a feeling, maybe an itch or an ache, where the limb used to be. In her video exhibition at Trinity Square Video, artist Karilynn Ming Ho examines the phantom limb sensations as unrequited longing, as a way to navigate an increasingly disembodied world and our relationships to representations of bodies that are not genuine.

Find more information here.


Think of a curse word. Right now. Maybe you can say it out loud, or maybe you can’t, because swear words hold context and connotations when used. Your character is usually reflected negatively by the curse word. But what about when we really need to say one?

We live in very strange times. Letting loose some expletives is, frankly, one way to cope with the madness of our current world. This is what visual artists Diego De La Rosa, Abbey Laura Pauline Gagnon, Greg McCarthy, and Dermot O’Brien are looking at in their group show at Gallery 50 this month. Through their own media, these artists will respond to the swear word-inducing times we live in.

Find more information here.

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