A listing of some of the decorative arts exhibits from coast to coast. This section is updated every few months - please check individual links for the latest exhibition news if needed.
July 17, 2021 – SATURDAY September 18, 2021
Master artisan and member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Murray Gibson’s tapestries represent an exploration of female literary figures who are textile practitioners, and how their practices affect the fates of others (often men) or of themselves. One of Canada's leading gold and silversmiths, Donald Stuart’s works are inspired by outstanding Canadian women. Homage is a collection of 40 framed neck-pieces created by the artist as a celebration and tribute to Canadian women, past and present.
Image: Elias Sime, Tightrope: In Boxes 2017. Reclaimed electronic components and insulted wire on panel, 64 in x 11 ft. 10 5/8 (162.6 x 362.3 cm). Photo by John Bentham
Royal Ontario Museum
April 3, 2021 - July 4, 2021The title Tightrope
Refers to the precarious balance between the innovations that technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the environment. Sime incorporates the results from technological advancements into his artwork by repurposing salvaged electronic components such as circuits and keyboards. Through these colorful tableaus, Sime’s work points to the urgency of sustainability, and provides important context that much of the devices intended to connect us have created mass amounts of e-waste.
Image: Convolvulus, Tricolor, From the Herbarium of Hallucinogenic Plants Series, 2019,
Stoneware, glazes, Collection of the Artist.
CANADIAN CLAY & GLASS GALLERY
Feb 23 - Sep 5, 2021
In Garden of the Gods, Nikola Wojewoda takes us on a botanical journey into the world of powerful hallucinogens. Her decorative plates pay tribute to the ancient use of these sacred plants. Their psychoactive properties transport the mind into altered states of consciousness, where transformative encounters with the Divine provide insights into the nature of reality and the self. Wojewoda’s interests lie in considering how these prehistoric experiences have shaped religious and philosophical thought, and the understanding of our complex human nature. Her paper collages are of gods, some virtuous and some not, that we may encounter in hallucinogenic trance.
Image: Coat, Dene, Slavey, 1875-1900. Gift of Julien F. Gaudet M918.104.22.168.
Through some 100 garments and accessories dating from the late 19th century to today, Wearing our Identity – The First Peoples Collection invites the public to discover the importance of clothing in the development, preservation and communication of the social, cultural, political and spiritual identities of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis of Canada.
The relationship between dress and identity is profound for members of Indigenous communities. Beyond its practical use, clothing conveys information about the identity of the individual wearing it and sometimes pays tribute to a person’s significant achievements or highlights the intimate connection between human beings and nature.
Today, clothing eloquently shows the vitality and creativity of contemporary Indigenous cultures, which have found a balance between ancestral knowledge and lived reality, between tradition and innovation.
Produced in close collaboration with an Indigenous advisory committee, Wearing our Identity – The First Peoples Collection is a universal invitation to reflect on the perception of clothing as an affirmation of one’s identity.
Image: Malaya Akulukjuk, Igah Etoangat
February 22 - October 3, 2021
Threads of Living Memory showcases the deep cultural, genetic, personal and communal memories of the Inuit which find life through stitching. Ranging from toys to clothing, wall hangings and rare, natural dye pieces, these textiles are manifestations of the dynamic connections between the makers, the viewers, the land, the spirit world and future generations of memory makers.
This exhibit draws on textile works in Glenbow’s collections from Inuit Nunangat, as well as from institutions and artists across Canada, and consists mostly of work of contemporary artists from the 1970’s onwards. The exhibit displays textiles which illustrate Living or Active Memory, whether they are literal memories, abstract reflections, tactile or sensual memories or full of symbolism that reflects cultural or genetic memory. Chosen works act as connecting threads to both the familiar and the unknown; the past and the future; the visceral and literal; and personal and collective experiences. Like all textile works they reflect both the art and the process of creating, connecting viewers to the women who made them as well as transmitting the emotions and preoccupations of the artist as she worked.
Regina Public Library
July 3 - September 10, 2021 at Dunlop Art Gallery (Central Library)
Showcasing recent process-based works on paper, textile and 360º animation, Otipemisiwak* celebrates the lives and material cultures of three women: the artist’s great-grandmother, Eléanore; her grandmother, Clémence; and her mother, Anita. Works feature a digital-beading technique the artist invented called ‘Berries to Beads.’ The technique mirrors spectacular traditional Métis beading; it is both a meticulous and technically demanding practice and art form.
Daphne Boyer is a renowned visual artist and plant scientist, born and raised in Saskatchewan, and now living in Victoria. Her iterative practice combines plant material, high-resolution digital tools and women’s traditional handwork to create art that celebrates her family’s Métis heritage and honours plants as the basis of life on earth.
*People who live by their own rules.
Image above: Daphne Boyer, Barn Owl and Moon, 2019, digital collage of photographed berries. Pigmented ink on Canson rag paper. Laser-cut owl and mooon. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Vancouver, British Columbia
MUSEUM OF VANCOUVER
On view until Spring 2022
In the 1950s Vancouver had approximately 19,000 neon signs – more than Las Vegas!
While some thought that thousands of signs signaled excitement and big city living, others thought they were a tawdry display that disfigured the city’s natural beauty. This deep civic controversy resulted in a turning point in Vancouver’s history and a change to the city’s urban landscape.
Enjoy the big city lights of Vancouver and catch a glimpse of the city from the 1950s through to the 1970s with this extraordinary collection of neon signs.
The remarkable signs, some lit for the first time since they were rescued from the junk yard, are accompanied by the tale of how the city went through a war of aesthetics that resulted in a transition of the very way Vancouver imagines itself.