The University of Toronto Art Centre's portion of "Traffic"
TO NOVEMBER 28 Individual works of art often defy definition, so when it comes to taking stock of an entire genre, comprehensiveness is key. Thus, the major survey exhibition titled Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965–1980 gathers a whopping 70-plus pieces by homegrown artists including Michael Snow, Lisa Steele and Jeff Wall. The sprawling show groups its subjects by city across four galleries: Justina M. Barnicke Gallery features Montreal-based artists; Doris McCarthy Gallery highlights Toronto; Halifax is represented at Blackwood Gallery; while Vancouver and the Prairies are found at the University of Toronto Art Centre. It’s a highly ambitious undertaking that succeeds in charting the development of an artistic field that continues to be a wellspring of visual expression in this country.
Ed Pien's Mary Magdalene
TO AUGUST 21 The city is bustling, the weather is warm and sunny; and hopefully you’re enjoying a fantastic trip to Toronto. But maybe there’s something whispering to you that the good times can’t last forever. If so, you’re not alone. Anxiety, it seems, is a universal feature of life both past and present. It’s also thematic fodder for the latest exhibition at Justina M. Barnicke Gallery. Aptly entitled Scream, after the iconic Edvard Munch painting, the display pairs intricate drawings—such as Mary Magdalene—by Ed Pien and eerie stone carvings by Samonie Toonoo in a daring evocation of worry, fear and what inspires these feelings. For a summer show it’s oppressive stuff, but perhaps when confronted by the artists’ anxieties your own won’t seem so bad.
The Lumikiik lamp is one of many displayed works at the Design Exchange.
ON NOW If Canadian achievements are arguably underrepresented when it comes to cataloguing the international history of design, then those of Quebec have been largely ignored. Consider this: Quebec in Design, the latest exhibition at the Design Exchange, is the first ever large-scale showcase of the province’s long and fascinating design tradition. With two major components—the first examining the work of interior decorators in the 1930s to the whiz-bang wonder fostered by Expo ’67; the second a study of innovations from the 1970s to the present day—the survey employs such objects as François Dallegret’s Lumikiik lamp to reveal the vital role design has played in the enhancement of Quebec’s cultural identity. —Alex Hughes