While there are a lot of things we’re not allowed to do right now, appreciating art is not one of them, thankfully. Many museums and galleries are still open across the country, with artists, gallerists and curators working hard to ensure that the show does, indeed, go on. Visiting a museum, with its big open spaces and distanced crowds, is a great solo activity and a pretty safe way to spend some time. And if you’d rather take it all in from the comfort of your living room, most shows are online as well and some even have digital tours. These three exciting contemporary Canadian exhibitions explore elements of the body, the self, fashion and pop culture for a much-needed dose of pandemic relief.
This two-person show brings together Montreal artists Robb Jamieson and Dominique Sirois in a playful collection of work centred around clothing and the human body. Sirois presents sculptural ceramic vases shaped like the female form wearing jeans, whereas Jamieson incorporates recycled denim—along with leather, lace and cotton—into his mixed-media collages. Jamieson also picks up on the nostalgia of old clothing with a sculpture that uses a T-shirt worn so much that it’s almost translucent, hanging like a ghostly shape off a steel silhouette. Sirois’ ceramic wormlike sculptures extend to the floor like bodies bending and twisting on yoga mats. Low Rise Sun makes for an intriguing, vibrant conversation between two artists’ individual practices.
Runs April 3 to May 8, 2021
A structure to Wear the Oldest Known T-Shirt, 2021Robb Jamieson
Steel, oil based paint, a well-worn t-shirt purchased at a merch table. 28 3/10 in × 22 × 12 3/5 in
The Woman of Nîmes 3 & 4, 2021Dominique Sirois
Glazed stoneware. 14 1/5 × 6 1/10 × 5 1/2 in
In this colourful, self-reflective photo and video exhibition, Israeli-born Vancouver artist Adad Hannah experiments with mirrors and 19th-century-portrait-photography staging techniques to explore the complex intimate relationship between subject and viewer. Each of his photographs displays a person sitting within a wooden frame that has mirrors of various shapes and sizes mounted on it, exposing different physical angles and perspectives synchronously. Hannah works with non-professional models who wear their own clothing and explore movement, encouraging a more intimate relationship with the body. This theme runs through all of Hannah’s work, in which he uses mirrors and mirroring in an engaging way to expose a world beyond the picture frame.
Runs April 13 to May 8, 2021
Studio Portrait (Young Man Sewing), 2021Adad Hannah
Archival Pigment Print. 36 x 24 in
There There, the latest solo show from Winnipeg-born, Montreal-based artist Janet Werner, opens at the end of the month and presents work that is definitely close to our hearts. Werner is deeply inspired by fashion-magazine images, and, in turn, the fashion world loves Werner. In her approach to femininity, she does not shy away from the grotesque and the awkward; however, her striking paintings are filled with an inescapable fluidity of beauty and movement, thanks to her luxurious use of colour and the way she splices her images. Werner often breaks the picture plane as if breaking a mirror, mixing and matching and giving the viewer a collage-like experience of the body with a fascinating explosive energy. We can only imagine all the oil-stained ripped-out fashion spreads strewn around her light-filled studio.
Runs April 30 to June 13, 2021
Plaza (gold room), 2021Janet Werner
Oil on canvas. 76 x 60 in
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.