Upcoming Toronto Art Shows

Every now and then, I do a web search to see what’s coming up in the Toronto arts scene. While things are currently slow, the following exhibitions caught my eye.


ABOVE: Geogria O’Keeffe, From the Faraway, Nearby, 1937, oil on canvas, 35.9 x 40.1 inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Size Matter: Steve Driscoll and Finn O’Hara

McMichael Canadian Art Collection (opens March 11, 2017)

Juxtaposing the urban with the rural, Size Matters will be the first exhibition in in a public gallery for Toronto artists Driscoll and O’Hara.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Art Gallery of Ontario (April 22-July 30, 2017)

Organized by Tate Modern and making its only North American stop at the Art Gallery of Ontario, this retrospective contains more than 80 of Georgia O’Keeffe’s works and looks like a hit in the making.

Artifact by Deborah Samuel

Gardiner Museum (May 1 – 31, 2017)

Running as part of the Contact Photography Festival, Artifact consists of twelve 20 x 24 inch black and white prints by Santa Fe artist Deborah Samuel. As transformation is the central theme, what the viewer sees changes depending upon their distance from the wall.

Anishinaabeg: Art & Power

Royal Ontario Museum (opens June 17, 2017)

Containing art produced over the last 200 years, this show will highlight the artistic evolution of the Anishinaabeg peoples while exploring their life, traditions and sacred stories.

Autumn at the McMichael Art Collection

I recently took advantage of a free pass and visited the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. I’m glad I did. Its current exhibitions are excellent.


ABOVE: Simon Daniel James, Frog with Frog Headdress, 2000, alder, cedar bark, abalone, horse hair, acrylic, paint, 22.6 x 16 x 7.3 inches, Gift from the Cameron/Bredt Collection, McMichael Canadian Art Collection

If you’ve got a car, or know someone who does, you should jump in it and head down to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Klienburg, Ontario. While the museum’s permanent collection is itself a must see, its current exhibitions are exceptional:

Transforming Spirit / September 19, 2015 to February 15, 2016

The collection of Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt contains 28 artists from Canada’s Northwest Coast. As is the case with most Aboriginal art, the works in this exhibition are intricate, bold, and above all else, spiritual. This show alone is worth the trip.

This House was Made For Christmas / October 3, 2015 to January 31, 2016

A collection of Christmas greeting cards designed by some of Canada’s greatest artists, this exhibition includes works by members of the Group of Seven and the Painters Eleven. It may be a bit early for holiday cheer, but fortunately, this show extends through the Christmas season.

For Every Season: A re-installation of the permanent collection in 4 galleries / October, 2015 to January, 2016

As the title of the show suggests, this isn’t so much a new exhibition as it is a re-shuffling of the deck. Heavy on the works of the Group of Seven, each gallery in this show represents a different season. While many of the collections best works are on display, the McMichael’s most famous piece, AJ Casson’s The White Pine is nowhere to be found. They haven’t shown it in years. I wonder why.

Meet Me at the McMichael

From Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, to Mary Pratt and the Painters Eleven, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is a who’s who of Canadian Art.


ABOVE: Lawren Harris, Ellesmere Island, 1930, oil on wood panel, 12 x 15 inches, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg

BELOW: The gravestone of Lawren Harris and his wife Bess in the McMichael Cemetary

If you grew up in or around Toronto, chances are you went on a school field trip to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. I recently (re)visited for the first time since childhood.

Established in 1969, the McMichael has an extensive collection that includes some of Canada’s most renowned artists. Whether you’re a fan of Emily Carr or Norval Morrisseau, all the stars are here, and then some.

As outstanding as the art is, so too is the building it is housed, and the grounds on which it is set. You really couldn’t ask for a better spot – it is distinctly Canadian.

Six members of the Group of Seven are buried at the McMichael, among them, my favorites A.J. Casson and Lawren Harris. Visiting their graves was a unique and humbling experience I will not soon forget.

Although the collections most iconic piece – Casson’s White Pine – was inexplicably absent, there wasn’t much else to complain about. Save for the weather, the whole experience was near perfect.

If you’re a fan of Canadian art, or looking to learn more about it, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is a must-visit.

This coming fall, I will be exhibiting my work in the 24th Annual Autumn Art Sale at the McMichael. The exhibition runs from Friday, October 24 to Sunday, October 26, 2014.