2020 Winter Exhibitions at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery


Kapwani Kiwanga, video still from The Sun Never Sets, HD colour video, 7’40”, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Tanja Wagner Gallery, Goodman Gallery.

Winter Exhibitions Opening Reception: Saturday, February 1, 2020 2PM – 4PM

This Winter, the RMG is pleased to present two exciting new major exhibitions: Made of Honey, Gold, and Marigold by artists Basil AlZeri, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, and Rajni Perera and If you see me, say hello, by artist Jason McLean.

Artists will be in attendance to talk about their work. Light refreshments and snacks will be served. Coming from Toronto? We have organized a bus to bring you to and from the opening! Pick up: in front of OCADU at 1:00PM and will return to OCADU for 4:30. To reserve a spot on the bus: RSVP to vault@rmg.on.ca.

Winter Exhibitions

If you see me, say hello
Jason McLean
Curated by Leila Timmins
January 18, 2020 – April 05, 2020


Jason McLean, Ontario Bird From Out West, ink on paper, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Gibson Gallery.

Jason McLean’s expansive and energetic practice spans works on paper, sculpture, mail art, performance, found audio compilations, hand-sewn costumes, and scavenged collections of everyday objects. Best known for his diaristic drawings, which trace the contours of his life through self-reflexive mapping and word play, he charts the world around him with a sense of humour and whimsy, while also deftly capturing the anxiety and precarity of the present moment. As writer Matthew Ryan Smith notes, he is, “a mapper of memory, a cartographer of the everyday, an archivist of minutiae, a chronicler of the prosaic.” Which is to say that McLean’s practice is world making. In his drawings, the surrealist roads and buildings loosely reference the towns and cities he has lived in and are marked with locations of celebrity sightings or important sporting events from his youth, and contain ruminations on everything from real estate speculation to the state of his career. There is an infectious energy and peculiar logic to the ways things are pulled together, reconstituted and presented again. A small sample of Pez dispensers from the now infamous “Felix and Henry’s Pez Museum” (a project started with his sons in 2012), as well as collections of cereal boxes and candy wrappers, are presented in the gallery alongside the drawings showing both his obsessive interest in material culture and also an irreverence for what is considered “important” art.

Made of Honey, Gold, and Marigold
Basil AlZeri, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, Rajni Perera
Curated by Geneviève Wallen
With a performance by Basil AlZeri
February 1 – April 19, 2020

“The sun opens the floorboards to light, the light shafts gradually towards her ankle, moves up her body like a brush, feathery. She watches herself in half light, half dark, and it is this preoccupation with herself that makes someone stop at the window. Though it is not seduction, but a genuine fascination with the sun creeping up her ankle.”
– Dionne Brand, At the Full and Change of the Moon

Made of Honey, Gold, and Marigold is a contemporary exploration of the sun, as an activator of sensory engagement, provoking deeper contemplations on sensuality, eroticism, pleasure, and politics of desire. Inspired by Dionne Brand’s descriptions of her young protagonist Maya and her awakening self-awareness, the selected works by Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, and Rajni Perera, draw attention to a multilayered sensory ecology that weaves together embodiment, space, and the radiance of the sun. Mundane, yet seducing moments such as the warmth of soaking in the soft ambient morning light or relishing in the golden hues of the magic hour can spark meditations on a specific being-ness that is responsive to the present moment—a quiet unfolding of bodily and spiritual presence. In this exhibition context, the sun is a catalyst providing a language that infuses wonder and awe into the amplitudes of Black and Brown inner lives, substituting oppressive imaginaries for consuming fantasies.

Public Program

everyone under the sun
By Basil AlZeri
January 29, 2020 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Please join the RMG staff and the artists at the front of the gallery for a winter picnic.
*No registration is required.

What does it mean to include everyone? And how do you do that? How can we create spaces and situations that can be inclusive? Is there such a thing? How can we walk out, but walk out together? Walk out for the right collective goals that embrace everyone equally? How can we share something simple and beautiful? How can we learn about the land—the land where the building stands, the land that we stand on?

Basil will host a winter picnic that will attempt to include everyone under the sun; gallery staff, exhibition organizers, artists, and of course anyone else, in the week prior to the exhibition opening. The event will happen outside the gallery and will be held during the lunch hour to accommodate as many people as possible. Soup and hot beverages will be served.

Permanent Collection Exhibitions

Our Flavourful Past: The History of the Food Scene in Oshawa
Thomas Bouckley Collection
Curated by Shiu Chin Jessica Ho
December 14, 2019 – April 11, 2020

Beyond a necessity, food is pleasurable, brings people together, and is a reflection of culture. Some of the most heated discussions about food take place in reviews on Yelp or Google and focus on taste, quality, and service, but we seldom consider the implications of the role of food in society from a broader cultural context. This exhibition explores the food scene in Oshawa during the 1890s-1940s, including photographs from the Thomas Bouckley Collection and archival documents on loan from the Oshawa Museum. It reveals how food is always more than a fundamental need or a commodity—it is an indispensable part of our socio-cultural evolution.

The Joy of Living
Rita Letendre
Curated by Sonya Jones
February 10, 2020 – June 14, 2020

Born in 1928 in Drummondville, Quebec to Abenaki and Quebecois parents, Rita Letendre moved with her family to Montréal in 1941. After attending Montreal’s École des Beaux-Arts in 1948, she left the following year finding the school’s teaching style too conservative. “To make a painting showing a little house on a street, that doesn’t show life” she said, “I wanted to show the joy of life, its difficulties, its power.” Abstraction allowed her to do just that, and soon she caught the attention of the artist Paul-Émile Borduas, a founder of the Automatiste group. She blossomed from there and soon found her own direction.

Letendre describes her long career as a continual progression, claiming, “in my case, one tiny step leads to another.” Works in this exhibition, from the RMG’s Permanent Collection, capture Letendre’s ever-evolving style of abstraction. It includes paintings from her abstract expressionist beginnings, her crisp hard-edged abstractions, as well as the vibrant and dynamic gestural works from her most recent series.

To learn more about our exhibitions, please visit: http://rmg.on.ca/exhibitions/

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is situated on the ancestral lands and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation and the traditional territory of the Mississauga Nation.

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is a vibrant and engaging art gallery dedicated to sharing and protecting the stories of our communities through art, shared authority, education, and engagement. The Gallery is a meeting place for exploration and experimentation, a place where art, artists, and the community come together in conversation.

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is an accessible venue. To learn more or request accommodations click here.

For more information or questions, please contact Ingrid Forster, Communications & Digital Media Lead at iforster@rmg.on.ca


The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
72 Queen Street, Civic Centre, Oshawa, Ontario
905 576 3000 ex 109 | rmg.on.ca

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