OPENS JUNE 6 Scraped, scored and textured with great welts of paint, the works of John Brown are survivors of their own visceral creation—no wonder the Toronto-based artist is known to take months to produce a single panel. Venerable art hub Olga Korper Gallery displays three of Brown’s large-scale pieces that reveal a meticulous process that combines abstract expressionism with artifacts of figuration. Widely collected and critically praised, Brown’s larger body of work, produced over a two-decade span, is also highlighted in a new catalogue to be launched at the gallery on June 18 from 6 to 9 p.m.
ON NOW In his 1924 Surrealist Manifesto, André Breton defined the artistic and philosophical movement as representing “pure psychic automatism.” As an art form, its defining works express just that, and are therefore open to myriad interpretations. The Art Gallery of Ontario offers one such perspective in Surreal Things, a major exhibition that examinines how the increasing pressures of consumer culture both informed and conflicted with surrealist art during its zenith. Expect to contemplate whimsical and strangely disarming works like the Aphrodisiac Telephone by Salvador Dalí and Edward James, plus works by many other modern masters. Complementing Surreal Things are two additional displays—Angelika Hoerle: the Comet of Cologne Dada, and Painting as a Weapon: Progressive Cologne 1920–33—which reevaluate Dadaist art and its relationship to European politics in the early 20th century.
JUNE 4 TO 24 There is an organic beauty in Shelley Mansel’s depictions of man-made forms. Though she began her career as a painter of landscapes, Mansel has lately drawn praise for her naturalistic images of buildings. At Ingram Gallery, the Nova Scotia artist extends her interest in built structures and the ironic similarity of their under-construction and decaying states. Mansel’s solo exhibition, entitled Armature, collects two-dozen works on paper in which the rigid, geometric skeletons of scaffolds, bridges, ship hulls and more gain artistry through charcoal shading and the deft application of encaustic wax.