Agnes’s Love Letter to Kingston

Celebrate the Last Exhibitions in Agnes’s Current Facility!

December 1, 2023 – March 28, 2024
Exhibition Celebration: December 1, 2023
Members’ Preview, 5–6 pm; Not a Member? Join now!*
Public Reception, 6–9 pm; Dance Party with Kingston’s DJ Kid Koncussion, 7:30–9 pm

This season is Agnes’s love letter to Kingston. It is written as a constellation of solo exhibitions, commissions and interventions that rightfully celebrate and elevate the culture and artists of our hometown. From a tattoo parlour to a mobile printing press; from retrospective to first-ever gallery exhibitions; from re-patterning Agnes’s historic dress collection in collaboration with members of the local drag community to tracing “hidden” histories alongside Black protagonists of Kingston’s past and present, these hyper-local projects participate in the range of cultural production that enlivens this place.

Kingston artists are creatives and entrepreneurs, astute aestheticians, and community activists alike. Not all are formally trained. Some arrive as artists through sheer tenacity, building on their family’s working-class ethos. Others transform practices here by adapting artistic traditions brought from homelands elsewhere. All Agnes staff collaborated to choreograph this final season in our current facility, which has made its planning process particularly special! We are proud to share these artists’ steadfast commitment to transforming the culture of our city!

Construction for Agnes Reimagined begins May 13, 2024!

Seven solo exhibitions enliven Agnes’s galleries for the last time!

Turned Back: Filaments of Renewal

Turned Back: Filaments of Renewal presents works from Emebet Belete’s series Turned Back. Celebrating the life of her mother and the intergeneration of Ethiopian women whose stories are woven throughout the fabric of time, this exhibition of acrylics on canvas with installed audio and textiles contemplates a private world beyond the objectifying gaze.

Curated by Sebastian De Line

Hidden in Plain Sight

Colloquially, “hidden in plain sight” means something right before you that you don’t see, because it is too obvious or too common to pay attention to. Or you’ve seen it a thousand times. Skateboarder, photographer and counter-culture influencer, Jay Bridges makes us pay attention to Kingston in new ways in this series that highlights ordinary but iconic landscapes of Kingston’s generic built environment.

Curated by Emelie Chhangur

Ann Clarke: A Life in Motion

Clarke’s record is significant, and she continues to paint today. This first exhibition retrospective provides opportunity to look back at Clarke’s body of work and to reflect on her distinctive contributions to the field, as one of Canada’s leading abstract painters for the last half century.

Co-curated by Mark Birksted and Alicia Boutilier

Frank De Sa

The preposition De (“of” or “from”) can verbally signify lasting ties to places and experiences of origin, even when eroded by distance and time. With his new sculptural presentation, Frank De Sa reflects on his family roots in the Portuguese Azores, his upbringing in Kingston, and the manifold ways the diasporic experience of his working-class family impacts his practice.

Co-curated by Sunny Kerr and Suzanne van de Meerendonk

Who is Belle Island?

Kingston artists, Billie Kearns (aka Billie the Kid) and Jill Glatt collaborate on an exhibition that asks, “what does it mean to be a local artist?” and “how can we honour the land with stories we tell?” They propose Belle Island is “a being who holds those who are both from this land and those who have come here from far away and live here now.” Agnes’s Atrium is adorned with sound and tapestries coloured with natural dye and embroidered with poetry and quotes from stories contributed by local community members.

Curated by Sunny Kerr

we are magic: a love letters to our tattoos

In we are magic: a love letter to our tattoos printmaker and tattoo artist Abby Nowakowski transforms Agnes’s Artist Project Space into a greeting place for folks who feel intimidated by the parlour tattoo industry. Whether you come for a tattoo, to read through tattoo love letters, or to receive an offering of a temporary tattoo—this space has room for you. Drawing on ideas of trauma-informed care and tattooing as liberation work, Nowakowski is inspired by and refers to contemporary artist and oral historian Tamara Santibañez.

Curated by Charlotte Gagnier

Joan Scaglione: Shifting Realities

Joan Scaglione harnesses flows of accumulated drawings and materials into swelling sculptural installations and soaring wall assemblages in this solo exhibition of new work. More subtly, the artist makes rhythmic urgings for ‘feeling out’ radical leaps and disjunctions that might transit across different material worlds, following her practice of radical openness.

Curated by Sunny Kerr

Learn more about AGNES OFF-SITE >

*Did you know Agnes has memberships for out-of-town supporters? Like what we are doing? Support our work by getting your Agnes “Long Distance” Membership >

Agnes Etherington Art Centre logo

Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Situated within Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat territories, Agnes is a curatorially-driven and research-intensive professional art centre proudly serving a dual mandate as a leading, internationally recognized public art gallery and active pedagogical resource at Queen’s. By commissioning, researching, collecting and stewarding works of art, and by exhibiting and interpreting visual culture through an intersectional lens, Agnes creates opportunities for participation and exchange across communities, cultures, histories and geographies.

Agnes is committed to anti-racism. We work to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that centre the artistic expression and lived experience of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Agnes promotes 2SLGBTQIAP+ positive spaces.

We are thankful to CIBC Wood Gundy, The Johnson, Johnston and Macrae Investment Group and CIBC Asset Management for exhibition support.

36 University Avenue
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6
Agnes is an accessible venue.

Facebook: @aeartcentre
Twitter: @aeartcentre
Instagram: @aeartcentre

For inquiries, contact Kate Yüksel, Communications Coordinator.

Image credits:
1. Jay Bridges, Gino’s, 2021, Pentax 67, Kodak Portra 400. Courtesy of the artist.
2. Emebet Belete, Enkutatash #12, 2015, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
3. Abby Nowakowski, we are magic, 2023, digital illustration. Courtesy of the artist.