10 must-see art shows in Toronto this winter
Art shows in Toronto this winter offer layer after layer of benefit like a Vermeer that just won't quit. Art exhibits? Pretty much always indoors - and apparently it's cold outside (no galleries have scrambled to put a show called Polar Vortex together yet, but there's still time). Winter is kind of boring, and for many a little lonely - hello, pick up the phone, it's art calling. Don't hide away at home in the dark when you could be feasting your eyes on some of Toronto - and the world's - best visual talents.
From photography to installations, here are 10 shows to have on your radar this winter, hot chocolate in hand (just don't spill, please).
Lutz Dille / Jan 14 - March 8 / University of Toronto Art Centre
If you missed Lutz Dille's Toronto photographs during the fall at the University of Toronto Art Centre, you'll have from Jan 14th to March 8th to view his must-see photos including "fashion accessories, unconscious gestures and everyday objects" taken after he moved to Canada from Germany in 1951. Dille sought honesty with his camera, and standing amid his photos, you can almost feel him standing over your shoulder. Lutz Dille passed away in 2008.
Ahmet Öğüt - Strategies for Radical Democracy / Jan 15 - March 2 / Blackwood Gallery
Strategies for Radical Democracy is Turkish conceptual artist Ahmet Öğüt's first solo show in Canada. This is a thinker's exhibit - from the curatorial statement: "The centerpiece of the exhibition is a raised platform structure (8' x 8') illustrating the artist's theory titled Strategic Diagram for Non-hierarchical Participatory Radical Democracy. The diagrammatic structure functions as a way to analyze socio-political shifts and demarcate mediation. On Jan 15 a free shuttle bus will take you from Mercer Union (1286 Bloor Street W) to the U of T Mississauga's Blackwood Gallery at 6pm and bring you back to the city at 8:30pm.
Jimmy Limit / Jan 18 - May 4 / Rodman Hall
Sculptor/photographer (in that order, chronologically) Jimmy Limit stimulates with bright colours and absurd forms. His photos look like commercial stock photos, until you get a bit closer and realize the objects photos like "2 Litre Mountain Dew on its side with level" are made to melt your brain. Jimmy Limit is represented by Clint Roenisch Gallery and has a solo show coming up there, but for you can see his working starting January 18th at Rodman Hall for Recent Advancements, curated by Marcie Bronson.
Robert Burley: The Disappearance of Darkness / Jan 22 - April 13 / Ryerson Image Centre
If you have nostalgia for the fading art of the darkroom (may it never truly die), stop into Ryerson's The Disappearance of Darkness for Burley's photos taken between 2005 - 2010 of sites and events related to the production and business of photography, including corporations like Kodak, Agfa, and Ilford. The exhibit is fresh from the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
Come Up To My Room / Jan 23 - 26 / Gladstone Hotel
Come Up To My Room is the interdisciplinary art and design explosion that happens at the Gladstone Hotel each year. Creative peeps transform the rooms of the hotel with their mind-altering installations the public is welcome to explore, or get right in there and participate is the collage parties at the Melody Bar. Either way you won't look at the Gladstone the same way again.
Tessar Lo / Jan 31 - Feb 22 / Cooper Cole
Whether working with minimalist, loose sketches or in full blown colour (or anywhere in between), Lo gives his imagery a heavy dose of the strange. Anyone attracted to zines and lo-fi DIY aesthetics will love Lo's work, yet it's got something else going on too. Lo participated in Micah Lexier's More Than Two (Let It Make Itself) at the Powerplant last fall, and this will be his second solo show at Cooper Cole.
Mike Nelson / January 31 - May 19 / The Power Plant
Did you love Labyrinth as a kid? If you loved it for more than Bowie's leggings (and you did, come on) you'll need to wander through Power Plant this winter/spring to see Mike Nelson's first Toronto solo exhibit. "Nelson is best-known for his labyrinthine architectural installations that unfold as narrative structures, where the viewer moves through rooms like a reader turns pages in a novel." The show will include "Quiver of Arrows", a conjunction of four old travel trailers.
Zoe Jaremus: Displaced Menagerie / Feb 1 - Feb 15 / Bau-XI
Zoe Jaremus' newest body of work explores her interest in taxidermied animals - or in the case of her current series, animal pelts and skins in particular. Jaremus portrays these backwoods objects through photography as 'Rorschach-like' compositions in a kind of strange dimension meld between cottage life, contemporary art and design, and the humanities - all at a considerable distance from the actual animals the pelts were taken from.
The Artist Project / Feb 20 - 23 / Better Living Centre
The Artist Project (TAP) will challenge the typical art fair format from February 20 - 23 at the Better Living Centre. Here, you'll find the artists themselves in the booths - over 250 curated contemporary artists from Canada and around the world. This means you get to meet and hopefully buy work directly from the people behind it. That's pretty special. There will also be various special events and programming taking place.
Simulators II / Feb 22 - March 22 / Angell Gallery
This upcoming group show at Angell is going to be a good one, and may just make you a fan of digital art if you haven't been won over thus far. The exhibit will include Rafael Ochoa (who we named a top artist to watch in 2014)'s digital paintings. Ochoa is a young Toronto artist who, using multiple digital-imaging software programs for each piece, messes around with classical imagery, bridging antique still lives and epic paintings in gilded frames with The Sims universe. Expect more explorations along these lines in Simulators II.
Lead photo of the Artist Project