2020 Fall Exhibitions at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre



This season, Agnes Etherington Art Centre presents two new solo exhibitions featuring contemporary artists: Shannon Bool: Modernism and Its Discontents and Chantal Rousseau: Tap Dancing Seagull and Other Stories. Both artists, in individual ways, plumb popular culture and disrupt conventional practice through intermingled media.

Three further exhibitions, Rembrandt and Company, Nocturne, and Garden Studies explore Agnes’s rich historical and contemporary collections with fresh outlooks.

29 August–6 December 2020

Shannon Bool’s recent practice takes on many forms, including tapestries, silk paintings, collages, sculptures and photograms. All gravitate around a central theme: a critique of Modernism through unconventional material processes, combined with her own interpretation of psychoanalytical concepts. By examining the flip side of modernist currents, the artist reveals repressed aesthetic influences in both visual art and architecture.

The role of architecture in controlling both bodies and behaviour is at the core of Bool’s approach, which identifies objectifying strategies used in interior design, specifically in the arrangement of niches, alcoves and sightlines within domestic spaces. This is apparent in her tapestries investigating viewpoints in the architecture of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, and her recent works of embroidered floor plans by Adolf Loos and Carlo Molino. In other tapestries and photograms, she complicates Le Cobusier’s Plan Obus, aimed at transforming Algiers into a modern imperial capital, by revealing its underlying phantasmal character. Using superimposition, she connects his architectural drawings with his erotic drawings and orientalist postcards widely circulated at the time, suggesting that one could have informed the other. Finally, her silk paintings confound our expectations by mixing ideas of softness and sensuality with the rigidity and flatness of the modernist grid reminiscent of architectural façades.

This exhibition is produced by the Musée d’art de Joliette in partnership with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Iterations of this project initiated by the Musée d’art de Joliette have been presented by the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and the Kunstverein Braunschweig in Braunschweig. We thank the Canada Council for the Arts for their support.

Curated by Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre, Curator of Contemporary Art, Musée d’art de Joliette with Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art, Agnes Etherington Art Centre


29 August–6 December 2020

This exhibition is a special blend of wicked libidinal affects, exploring the quivering line between perfection and abjection. Chantal Rousseau’s chosen medium mashup is painstakingly detailed watercolours transmuted into animated GIFs. If you’re probing the values and speeds of contemporary attention like Rousseau is, these are the perfect vehicle. In this exhibition the lascivious torpor of snails is balanced by a brigade of plucky unsung characters, such as squirrels doing fitness training. The artist’s bio describes her practice in this way: “Playing off fleeting internet obsessions and subcultures, she intertwines humour and the macabre and makes feminism sexy.” She currently resides in Kingston, Ontario.

Curated by Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art

5 September–11 April 2021

Presenting some of the greatest treasures of The Bader Collection, this exhibition features both familiar favourites, such as Willem Drost’s Self-Portrait as Saint John and Lambert Doomer’s Venetian Courtesan, and exciting recent acquisitions, including a touching portrait of Rembrandt’s late-life partner, Hendrickje Stoffels, by his student Jacobus Levecq. Bringing focus to the artistic context in which Rembrandt created the mysterious Man with Arms Akimbo, we explore the diverse accomplishments of artists in Rembrandt’s adopted city of Amsterdam, the cultural capital of northern Europe, and elsewhere in the Dutch Republic. While Rembrandt and his circle captured the market for history paintings and portraits, other painters carved a niche in landscape, genre imagery, or still life. Bringing Rembrandt’s work together with stellar paintings by rivals as well as acolytes, this exhibition celebrates creative diversity and entrepreneurship at a singular moment in the history of European art, while also celebrating the remarkable vision of Drs Alfred and Isabel Bader in building this collection and sharing it with art lovers in Kingston and around the world.

Curated by Dr Stephanie Dickey, Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art at Queen’s University

29 August 2020–11 April 2021

Night has long been an inspiration for artistic expression. The term “nocturne,” first applied to the visual arts by James Abbott McNeill Whistler in the late nineteenth century, evokes the dark and dreamy atmosphere of those hours when the sun travels below the horizon. Many artists have sought to capture the ever-changing quality of light resulting from the transition between day and night. Some have explored the moment when shadows appear with the setting of the sun; others have captured the rising moon and the way it illuminates the landscape. The darkness that reigns in the dead of night can represent a newfound freedom and anonymity—a time in which to dream and live out fantasies and secret desires. But with the sun’s inevitable return, dawn once again brings clarity and sight.

Crossing genres and decades, this exhibition explores the night in the Canadian artistic imaginary and traces the arc of night from sunset to sunrise. This universal daily transformation, which holds power over us all, has unique expression in the Agnes’s collections.

Curated by Marla Dobson, Assistant Curator, Canadian Art

29 August–6 December 2020

Garden Studies draws wide linkages between the gardening proclivities of Agnes Etherington, artistic depictions of plants and flowers from the Agnes collections and Kingston’s colonial architecture and prison cultures. By exploring the window and the garden together in a play of forms and perspectives, the curatorial team invites viewers to reflect on thresholds between inside and outside and to visualize a sort of conceptual garden as a nurturing space for growth and relations within difference. Can a “garden” of artworks gesture to a future space for which we collectively long?

Curated by Tyler Adair, Alison Kiawenniserathe Benedict, Amit Breuer, Jed English, Peggy Fussell and Barbara Matthews, with Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art, as part of the Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies graduate seminar Curating in Context


To 6 September 2021: Sandra Brewster: Blur

Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a globally networked art museum situated in the heart of Queen’s University’s historic campus in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Agnes Etherington Art Centre
36 University Avenue, Queen’s University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6
Facebook: @aeartcentre
Twitter: @aeartcentre
Instagram: @aeartcentre

Agnes Etherington Art Centre is an accessible venue, details can be found here.

AGNES THANKS Queen’s University, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Kingston Arts Fund, Kingston Arts Council, and through generous contributions by foundations, corporate partners, donors and members. We are grateful for this crucial support.

Image (top): Shannon Bool, Oued Ouchaia, 2018, jacquard tapestry and embroidery. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto, and Gallery Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf

Image (middle): Chantal Rousseau, Starlings vs Cheezel, 2020, watercolour animation GIF. Collection of the artist

For further information, contact Kate Yüksel, Communications Coordinator at (343) 333.5478 or kate.yuksel@queensu.ca.