Esker Foundation Launches 2023 Winter Exhibition Season

Esker Foundation is pleased to present our Winter 2023 Exhibition Season with an exhibition of over 40 paintings by Margaux Williamson, and the mesmerizing single-take musical performance and video installation The Visitors by Ragnar Kjartansson.

Opening: Friday 20 January, 2023 | 6-9pm

Margaux Williamson, Fire, 2021, oil on canvas. Promised gift of Christine & Andrew W. Dunn, McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Courtesy of the artist.

Margaux Williamson

21 January – 30 April, 2023

Guest Curated by Jessica Bradley
Organized and circulated by McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Margaux Williamson’s Interiors, guest curated by Jessica Bradley, presents a 17-year overview of paintings, writings, drawings, and ephemera, with the main focus on interiors, a dominant theme in Williamson’s work.

Margaux Williamson is a painter who also writes and makes videos. Her community includes writers, artists, and musicians with whom she has collaborated, notably on her 2008 feature-length video, Teenager Hamlet, which captures the existential questioning and curiosity of young urban friends thinking through their experience of the world. She has also made performances and published movie reviews. Within this multifaceted practice, Williamson’s painting has evolved through long rhythms; her bodies of work are produced over years interspersed with pauses, often for as many years.

Williamson has said that painting can be a place to consider what is real and what has value. Such consideration leads her to make images unconstrained by the dictates of a preconceived composition and instead to build progressively with details that stay in the mind. In her studio, an unobtrusive garage behind her house on a downtown Toronto side street, Williamson yields to the slow process demanded by large oil paintings, constructing images that, like thoughts, unfold organically. The interiors that have become a dominant theme in her recent work are both literal spaces, somewhere comfortably familiar, and places of imaginative interiority where her inanimate subjects are brought under the spell of her anarchic treatment of space.

Find out more.

Saturday 21 January, 5–6pm, free
Painting Time: Conversation and Q & A with Margaux Williamson and Jessica Bradley.
In-person at Esker Foundation: Register here.

Ragnar Kjartansson, still from The Visitors, 2012. Nine channel HD video projection, Duration: 64 minutes. Photo: Elísabet Davidsdóttir, Sound: Chris McDonald. Video: Tómas Örn Tómasson. Image courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik. Gift of Graham and Ann Gund to Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, 2015.1.1.

Ragnar Kjartansson
The Visitors

January 21 – April 30, 2023

Through elements of theatrical and musical production and an expanded sense of sculpture and painting, Ragnar Kjartansson creates performances that provoke the intertwining of pathos, joy, and communal emotion by testing the limits of repetition and the endurance of both performers and viewers. The figure of the musician is at the centre of these works, either acting alone as a kind of Romantic troubadour or as part of a cast of players. While some of these works happen live in front of an audience, Kjartansson is most well-known for recorded performances presented in the form of immersive video installations.

The Visitors is one such work: it is an enveloping nine-channel audio and video installation that documents an epic single-take musical performance. Lasting for approximately an hour, the piece depicts eight musicians (including Kjartansson) performing a folk music opus of repetition and cannon blasts, based on collaged texts by artist Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir. The musicians, all friends of Kjartansson’s, include: Kristín Anna and Gyða Valtýsdóttir, solo performers, film composers, and founding sisters of the historic Icelandic band Múm; Kjartan Sveinsson, composer and keyboard player with Sigur Rós, Shahzad Ismaily who has worked on the Icelandic scene and with artists such as Will Oldham, Yoko Ono and Bob Dylan; Þorvaldur Gröndal; Ólafur Jónsson; and composer, jazz master, and frequent collaborator Davíð Þór Jónsson.

Find out more.

The Visitors Special Launch at Block Heater
Thursday 9 February, 7-9pm.
The gallery will be open late for this special event as part of Calgary Folk Music Festival’s Block Heater, Feb 9-12, powered by ATB.

Installation view of the exhibition HEADSPACE in the Esker Project Space, 2023. Photo by: John Dean.


Lizzy Moorhead, Sid Smillie, and Zabdi, in collaboration with May G N

Until 5 February, 2023

Created in concert with Esker Youth Engagement and students from Discovering Choices schools, May G N presents HEADSPACE, an exhibition that provides windows into the self. The heart of the installation is skinned with a nearly fractal set of collaborative collage works, viewed through a series of reflective silhouetted forms that depict the profiles of the collaborating youth artists. Each person-made-portal offers a vantage point into a world of clashing images, personal expressions, and unique aesthetic tastes. The resulting kaleidoscope-like interior space threatens to fall back in on itself with recursive imagery and text.

Find out more.

About Esker Foundation
Esker Foundation is a privately funded contemporary art gallery located in Calgary, Canada. The gallery connects the public to contemporary art through relevant, accessible, and educational exhibitions, programs, and publications. Esker Foundation reflects on current developments in local, regional, and international culture; creates opportunities for public dialogue; and supports the production of ground-breaking new work, ideas, and research. Founded in 2012 by Jim and Susan Hill, Esker Foundation is a new model for institutional relevance, curatorial focus, and audience engagement. Find out more at or follow us at @EskerFoundation.

Esker Foundation presents an extensive range of free online programs for all ages. Developed in response to our exhibitions they are designed to increase accessibility and to encourage participation in contemporary art.

Visit to find out more and to register.

Jill Henderson, Marketing and Communications
Tel: 1 403 930 2499

Admission to the Gallery: Free
Accessibility: Barrier-free

Wednesday to Friday, 11-6pm
Satruday & Sunday, 12-5pm


Esker Foundation
4th Floor, 1011 9th Avenue SE
Calgary, Alberta, T2G 0H7
Tel: 1 403 930 2490
FB/IG/TW: @EskerFoundation