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Unpacking the Living Room
8 Sep 2018 – 10 Nov 2018
Living rooms are spaces we arrange and create around ourselves to support the comfort and wellbeing of family, to host friends and loved ones, to display precious and prized belongings, and for leisure and relaxation. But living rooms are private spaces packed with emotions and history, as well as social and political investments. The kind of living room we create can reveal our background, our values, our social position, and our aspirations. Even the privilege of having a living room speaks volumes when so many people live in precarious situations, are without shelter, or have been displaced from their homes and traditional lands.
Sketch by David Dahms
Maria Hupfield: The One Who Keeps on Giving
17 Mar 2018 – 20 May 2018
The title of the exhibition is also the title of a new video installation named after the translation of Hupfield’s mother’s Anishinaabe name. The video documents a performance by the artist and her siblings in Parry Sound, an event re-enacted with a smaller cast at each tour venue.
Maria Hupfield, Jingle Spiral
Bodies in Translation: Age and Creativity
9 Sep 2017 – 12 Nov 2017
MSVU Art Gallery is collaborating with the SSHRC-funded project entitled Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life and the Nova Scotia Centre on Aging at MSVU
George Steeves, Self-Portrait with Mirror 2001
How Do I Look?
11 Feb 2017 – 9 Apr 2017
This selection of artists’ self-portraits from the Mount Saint Vincent University Collection addresses both the experience of being looked at by others, and that of returning the gaze. As a corollary to their engagement with practices of looking and appearing, these self-portraits also tackle the frameworks of race, gender and sexuality.
James R. Shirley: Cape Breton Apocalypse
“We are continually exposed to the flashbulb of death":
The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (1953-1996)

29 Aug 2015 – 8 Nov 2015
Organized and circulated by the University of Toronto Art Centre and Justina M. Barnicke Gallery with the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. The exhibition comprises over 100 photographs taken by the legendary Beat poet and activist Allen Ginsberg, capturing his life, loves, and artistic community, including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Peter Orlovsky and others of the Beat generation of writers, poets, and activists.
Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Natalie Jackson underneath movie marquee
Making Otherwise: Craft and Material Fluency in Contemporary Art
9 Oct 2014 – 30 Nov 2014
Today, there is an increasing permeability between the realms of “craft” and “art” occurring in step with an emphasis on “reskilling” and the handmade, as seen in contemporary art practice and in the widespread interest in all things handcrafted.
Marc Courtemanche, The Studio
Voices in Longitude and Latitude: video installation by Marnina & Noam Gonick
22 Mar 2014 – 11 May 2014
Marnina & Noam Gonick, Voices in Longitude and Latitude
The Art Bank in the 21st Century
17 Aug 2013 – 10 Nov 2013
Founded in 1972, the Canada Council Art Bank purchases contemporary art and rents it to federal government offices. Among the aims of the Art Bank are the support of Canadian artists through purchases, broadening the audience for contemporary art, and representing the national visual imagination.
Kristin Bjornerud, Encounter with the Bear
Activist Ink
12 Jan 2013 – 24 Feb 2013
Emily Davidson, Dan O'Neill and Ericka Walker are three Haligonian printmakers whose work revives the history of socially engaged printmaking.
Ericka Walker, Reduced
Body Tracks
24 Mar 2012 – 13 May 2012
Body Tracks foregrounds the life and art of Ana Mendieta (1948-1985), who despite being a prolific performance and body artist from the 1970s is unknown to many artists under forty.
Philomène Longpré, Xia 2011 (photo credit Bruce Barbour)
Ruth Cuthand: Back Talk (works 1983-2009)
14 Jan 2012 – 11 Mar 2012
The exhibition includes more than 30 drawings, paintings, beadworks and video by Saskatchewan Cree artist Ruth Cuthand.
Ruth Cuthand, Small Pox 2009
Ursula Johnson, Artist-in-Residence
10 Jan 2012 – 17 Feb 2012
From 9 January through 17 February, Mi’kmaw artist Ursula Johnson will work in a studio space within the gallery, hosting basket-making workshops, open studio days and other events.
Ursula Johnson, the artist performing Elmiet 2010
Lisette Model: a Performance in Photography
8 Oct 2011 – 13 Nov 2011
The mid-20th-century photographer Lisette Model (1901-1983) is equally renowned for her shoot-and-run portraits of strangers and her mystification of her own life story. This selection of twenty vintage prints from the National Gallery of Canada will introduce Model’s work to Halifax in the context of the city-wide photographic festival, Photopolis.
Lisette Model Belmont Park, New York
Feed: A Video Installation by Tonia Di Risio
21 Aug 2011 – 2 Oct 2011
In 2006 the Haligonian artist DiRisio traveled to the Abruzzo, Italy. There she recorded her middle-aged female relatives preparing a variety of local dishes in their kitchens.
Tonia Di Risio, Cooking in Italy 2010
Losing it: Jarvis, Pagurek, Wensley
14 Aug 2010 – 5 Oct 2010
This witty and emotionally charged exhibition includes works by Kirtley Jarvis, Cheryl Pagurek, and Mary-Anne Wensley. Whether this art serves to provoke or assuage anxiety is an open question.
MaryAnne Wensley, Coping Mechanism
Using It: ArtStars, Lendrum, Valentina
14 Aug 2010 – 17 Oct 2010
The creation and presentation of self through assumed personae is as old as theatre. Today YouTube, Facebook and other social networking sites enable individuals to create myriad versions of themselves capable of interactions with an ever-expanding on-line audience.
Nadja Sayej, still from ArtStars
Alter Ego: Anatomical Studies of a Natal Male by R.S. Pennee
4 Jul 2009 – 18 Oct 2009
For centuries artists have made studies of body parts—hands, feet, faces—that were later incorporated into larger works. In a nod to the Old Masters, the video-derived prints in Alter Ego are processed to resemble drawings.
Robert Pennee Study #15, 14 April 2008
ANTHEM: Perspectives on Home and Native Land
25 Aug 2008 – 5 Oct 2008
In this exhibition the following artists present their responses to forms of Canadian identity, nationhood and nationalism: KC Adams, Fastwurms, Cynthia Girard, Dana Inkster, Alisdair MacRae, Shirley Moorhouse and Eric Robertson.
KC Adams Cyborg Hybrid Niki
Donigan Cumming: Ex Votos
21 Jun 2008 – 10 Aug 2008
The internationally renowned, Montreal-based artist Donigan Cumming is known for his staged portraits of the aging, ill and socially assisted poor, in the form of photographs, videos and photographic collages.
Donigan Cumming Epilogue
Art Metropole: The Top 100
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada

12 Jan 2008 – 22 Mar 2008
Art Metropole began in the 1970s as an informal agency of Torontonian and NSCAD-affiliated artists. It evolved into a unique Toronto artist-run centre, collecting and distributing alternative artworks that bypassed the art market with accessibly-priced artists’ “multiples” such as audio recordings, videos, bookworks and postcards.
Sherrie Levine 2 shoes 1992
George Steeves
28 Feb 2007 – 10 Apr 2007
In addition to his mastery of historical techniques and his exquisite printing, the Haligonian photographer George Steeves is known for an iconography “shot through with grotesque sexuality, reverence for emotional pain, and chilly black humour.”
E-minor No. 21 (GS & LH)
Sarindar Dhaliwal: Record Keeping
14 Jan 2006 – 4 Mar 2006
Born in the Punjab and raised in England, Sarindar Dhaliwal now lives in Toronto. In Record Keeping, a jewel-hued archive of paintings and installations embedded with journal entries, folk tales, gossip and news, the artist draws upon a personal history of movement from her birthplace in India, to Britain and then to Canada.
Sarindar Dhaliwal, Indian Billboard 2000
This Land is Mime Land: Shelley Niro
23 Oct 2005 – 11 Dec 2005
Shelley Niro is a member of the Turtle clan of the Mohawk Nation, and a media artist renowned for her provocative humour. Each work in this exhibition is composed of three photographs mounted in an overmat perforated in a pattern reminiscent of traditional beadwork.
Shelley Niro, Love Me Tender
Brisk Collages and Bricolages
Artistic Audits of Mainstream Media in Recent Canadian Shorts

20 Jul 2005 – 27 Jul 2005
The collective La Femme 100 Têtes, in collaboration with Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, presents Brisk Collages and Bricolages, Canadian found-footage films and videos that appropriate, audit and revise snippets of movies and TV shows.
Johanna Householder and b.h. Yael, December 31, 2000 (video)
Legend Drawings by Leonard Paul
6 May 2005 – 21 Aug 2005
The Nova Scotian artist Leonard Paul is known for his meticulously realistic nature and wildlife paintings. Since 2003, however, he has been engaged in a new project, a series of ink drawings illustrating the legend of the Mi’kmaq.
Leonard Paul, The Elder
Unbidden: Jin-me Yoon
5 May 2005 – 22 Jun 2005
The title of the exhibition and this series of works refers to the involuntary surfacing to consciousness of images and memories.
JJin-me Yoon Unbidden: Jungle-Swamp, 2003
Racing The Cultural Interface
African Diasporic Identities in the Digital Age

15 Jan 2005 – 27 Feb 2005
The African diaspora, and specifically the “Black Atlantic,” encompasses the world created by the African slave trade and by other population displacements among people of African descent. For this reason the black diaspora is often described as a space of movement between cultures, nations, races, origins, destinations and journeys — a space in many ways similar to cyber space.
Tracking: Bombings, Wars & Genocide
a Six Months Journey from New York to China, Vietnam, Cambodia & Indonesia–by Denyse Thomasos

28 Aug 2004 – 3 Oct 2004
After the 9-11 bombing, artist Denyse Thomasos travelled to photograph jails and burial sites in Asian countries. Those photographs are the source images for this spectacular floor-to-ceiling composition painted directly on the gallery walls.
Lecture Notes
14 Jan 2004 – 29 Feb 2004
With works in various media by Michael Fernandes, Rainer Ganahl, Mike Hein, Suzy Lake, John Marriott, Lani Maestro and Adrian Piper, this exhibition has plenty to say about the giving and receiving of lectures.
Rainer Ganahl from Lecture Notes
Beyond Words
28 Oct 2003 – 23 Nov 2003
The art in this exhibition encourages viewers to think of language as something more than a transparent medium of communication.
Beyond Words Installation View
Mean Feet
(Window Box)

10 Sep 2003 – 26 Oct 2003
The logic of the commodity is fetishist. The logic of shoe collecting is — what logic? Do you have fetish footwear buried deep in your closet? It is time to bring out your shoes.
Mean Feet, Vitrine 1
General Idea Editions
30 Aug 2003 – 12 Oct 2003
MSVU Art Gallery was the sole Atlantic Canadian venue on the North American tour of this long-awaited exhibition.
General Idea: FILE Megazine, vol. 5, no. 4, 1983.
In Another Place, Part II
Prospect 9: Lucie Chan

14 Sep 2002 – 27 Oct 2002
In the art of Lucie Chan, the implication of displacement and dispersal extends diasporic themes introduced in Lily Markiewicz’s installation. The freely suspended webs of imagery evoke a spatial metaphor on home as "elsewhere."
Lucie Chan: Something to Carry
Shifting Sites
31 Aug 2002 – 13 Oct 2002
Challenging the classical role of the camera as a neutral recorder of reality, nine up-and-coming Canadian photographers use two subjects – the body and the land – to explore issues of identity, place, and memory.
Eugenie Shinkle: Slag heap
Queer Commodity
7 Mar 2002 – 28 Apr 2002
Hijacking and inverting the codes of "gay window advertising," this exhibition was composed of amusing counter-commodities and style-saturated posturings, installed as a slightly tawdry boutique.
Johannes Zits: Salon Moderne
Kai Chan: Rainbow Lakes
2 Jan 2002 – 20 Feb 2002
A designer of jewellery, interiors, and theatre, Kai Chan also builds wall-mounted constructions of objects and fibre. Rainbow Lakes surveys his recent sculptural works, many of which assume the form of landscape elements.
Kai Chan: Moon in Water
Portraits: Unsettled Subjects
24 Jun 2001 – 22 Jul 2001
Realized in painting, photography, sculpture, print media and video, these mostly contemporary works, drawn from the MSVU collection and loans from various Canadian sources, deploy individual likenesses in the service of social critique.
Margaret Clarke: Mary and Brigid
Julie Duschenes: Stories That Own Me
3 Mar 2001 – 11 Apr 2001
This painting series portrays the artist and her partner in domestic situations reminiscent of paintings by the 17th-century Dutch master, Jan Vermeer.
Julie Duschenes: Story #3
Indian Princesses & Cowgirls
Stereotypes from the Frontier

9 Sep 2000 – 15 Oct 2000
In this exhibition, popular images of specific female types from the "Wild West" reveal the structures of domination through which the West was won.
Unknown artist: Indian Princess
Adrian Piper: A Retrospective 1965-2000
8 Jul 2000 – 30 Aug 2000
This exhibition appeared at MSVU Art Gallery in connection with HX, a city-wide festival of international contemporary art organized by the Contemporary Art Projects Society (CAPS).
Adrian Piper: The Mythic Being
Jim Shirley Returns
The Art of James R. Shirley

19 Feb 2000 – 16 Apr 2000
This retrospective, Shirley’s first major exhibition since his MSVU solo in 1977, includes approximately 50 monotypes and works in other media dating from the Nova Scotia years to the present.
James Shirley: Self-Portrait II
Imagining [an]Other Canada
Reconsidering images of nationalism in the Canadian landscape

8 Jan 2000 – 13 Feb 2000
This exhibition offers a contemporary critique of the proprietary nationalisms supported by 19th-century and Group of Seven landscape painting.
Janet Anderson: Oh
From the Background to the Foreground
The Photo Backdrop & Cultural Expression

16 Oct 1999 – 21 Nov 1999
Besides generating discussion around photographic portraiture, the vast exhibition, which was co-hosted by Dalhousie Art Gallery, explored relationships among the fields of art, photography, ethnography and vernacular representations.
Willis & Whitfield: By Any Means Necessary
13 Aug 1999 – 3 Oct 1999
Skinjobs included works in various media by Canadian artists who confront societal norms by means of grotesque, uncanny and monstrous distortions.
Catherine Heard: Efflorescence
Flaming Creatures: New Tendencies in Canadian Video
13 Aug 1999 – 3 Oct 1999
A program of 17 tapes by American and Canadian artists, the exhibition links contemporary critical poetics to Jack Smith's outrageous film Flaming Creatures, made in 1962.
Steve Reinke: Seventeen Descriptions
Unquiet Images from the University Collection

5 Jun 1999 – 18 Jul 1999
The exhibition in the mezzanine gallery includes two further works: Margaret Clarke's "Mother Ireland" portrait Mary and Brigid (1917), and Bruce Johnson's mural-sized photo-mosaic Oka (1992).
Bruce Johnson: Oka
The Convent Series
13 Feb 1999 – 21 Mar 1999
Clara Gutsche's austerely beautiful photographs document an aspect of Québec society that is rapidly disappearing: its communities of religious women.
Clara Gutsche: The Convent Series
Style Council
15 Jan 1999 – 7 Feb 1999
The term "style" has been displaced in the art lexicon by phrases such as "signifying practice." Yet distinctiveness, elegance, even perversity of expression continue to enjoy a lively currency in the art world.
Style Council
Margins of Memory / Trames de mémoire
14 Mar 1998 – 26 Apr 1998
Although sculpture predominated this exhibition organized around themes of memory and corporeality, even the two-dimensional works projected an assertive, spatial presence.
Patrick Traer: Untitled from Systemic Drawings
In Absentia
7 Mar 1998 – 17 May 1998
Composed of loans and works from the MSVU collection, this exhibition surveyed feminist approaches to autobiographical narrative.
Andrea Ward: Hairstories
Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Pictures
10 Jan 1998 – 8 Mar 1998
This exhibition comprised hand-rendered images derived from photographs, whose cumulative effect of authenticity may be traced to the camera's legacy of truth-telling and the autographic mark associated with painting.
Stephen Andrews: Crosswords
Letters from the Edge: Zapatista Embroideries
(Window Box)

16 Oct 1997 – 14 Dec 1997
This selection of cloths embroidered by Maya women from Chiapas, Mexico, provoked strong viewer response.
Women of Chiapas: Embroideries
Queer Looking, Queer Acting
Lesbian and Gay Vernacular

11 Oct 1997 – 16 Nov 1997
An examination of Halifax's lesbian and gay cultural production, which has had a vernacular character arising from the activist project of liberation.
Catalogue cover
The Painted Sounds of Romare Bearden
30 Aug 1997 – 28 Sep 1997
The art of African-American artist Romare Bearden affirms black cultural heritage and its place in North American culture.
Romare Bearden: Brass Section
Digital Garden
24 May 1997 – 27 Jul 1997
An installation composed of a video projection and laser-printed photographs depicting Eastern Canadian butterflies and the plant species on which they depend.
Mike MacDonald: Butterfly Garden
Image Rites
5 Apr 1997 – 11 May 1997
This exhibition was composed of works by artists whose ritualized production processes and presentation strategies intensify the terms of viewer engagement.
Frances Dorsey: Dragon’s Teeth
Andrea Ward: Hairstories
18 Jul 1996 – 16 Sep 1996
Andrea Ward's 41-piece series gives voice to women's concerns about this one aspect of their appearance: their hair.
Andrea Ward: Hairstories
Meta Textiles: Sewing the Second Skin
29 Mar 1996 – 26 May 1996
The artists in htis exhibition engaged the notion of "second skin" from disparate perspectives, though a spare, minimal sensibility linked their approaches to textile media.
Naoko Furue: Momi
Living Evidence
15 Oct 1994 – 4 Dec 1994
Rosalie Favell's project, which consists of a suite of inscribed and altered Polaroid enlargements, revises the family snapshot genre to accommodate a fractured tale of troubled love between herself and another indigenous woman.
Rosalie Favell, Living Evidence
Marsden Hartley and Nova Scotia
23 Oct 1987 – 22 Nov 1987
This exhibition brought together for the first time the drawings and paintings which Hartley did in Nova Scotia, as well as the significant drawings and paintings he did about this province after he returned to the United States.
Marsden Hartley: Adelard the Drowned

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