Fall 2023 In-Person and Virtual Programming Varley Art Gallery of Markham

Cole Swanson. Photo: Jamie McMillan

Cole Swanson

Lunch and Learn Speakers Series
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
12:30 to 1:30 PM (EDT)
Presented on Zoom. Registration is required

In this virtual artist talk, Cole Swanson presents his current exhibition Among the Drupes (Elegy for a Wasteland). In this project, Swanson delves into the dynamic and vulnerable life-story of the accidental, urban wilderness to unearth the wayward ecology in which native, invasive, and naturalized species survive together amidst the precarity of our times.

Cole Swanson is a multispecies artist and educator based in Toronto, Ontario. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has participated in artist residencies, guest lectures, and workshops abroad. He is a Professor in the Faculty of Media and Creative Arts, Humber College ITAL and is currently a PhD student of Environmental Studies at York University. In 2023, he was awarded the prestigious Vanier Scholarship for his research into Toronto’s infamous double-crested cormorant colony. Through a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and materially-focused practice, Swanson explores the complex relationships emerging between species living together in tension at a critical ecological moment.

Shantel Miller. Courtesy of the artist

Shantel Miller

Lunch and Learn Speakers Series
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT)
Presented on Zoom. Registration is required

Join us and discover the work of Markham-based artist Shantel Miller. Miller’s first solo exhibition in a public gallery, A Legacy Unfolding, examines the nuanced relationship between faith, spirituality, and the church, as well as the way these concepts are expressed in her Jamaican-Canadian community. During this talk, Miller will discuss her evolving artistic process and how her community contributes to it.

Saturday, November 25, 2023
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Varley Art Gallery of Markham
Free, Registration is required.

Through color and collage, explore aspects of perceiving our collective experiences with artist Shantel Miller. This two-hour workshop delves into meaning-making, and various symbolisms reflected in A Legacy Unfolding.

Shantel Miller is a Jamaican-Canadian visual artist living in Markham. She received an MFA in Painting at Boston University and a BFA in Drawing and Painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design. In 2021, she received the Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture, the Elizabeth Greenshield Award, the Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Career Entry Fund and is currently the Ujima Boston Project Artist Fellow for 2022–2024.

Miller’s figurative paintings represent lived and imagined experiences that often situate the body in moments of vulnerability and introspection. She uses body language symbolically to suggest relationships of tension and intimacy, often depicting interior spaces with isolated moments of realism, alternating perspectives, and high-contrast colour relationships. Working in this way, Miller negotiates notions of a public and private self and explores ideas relevant to spirituality and existentialism in ordinary depictions of Black life.

Yan Wu

Lunch and Learn Speakers Series
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EST)
Presented on Zoom. Registration is required

During the presentation, Yan Wu will introduce artists Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt’s project Lost and Found, which includes their recent interventions along the Rouge trail and their upcoming exhibition at the Varley Art Gallery. Wu will also discuss a collaborative project with Rouge National Park centered on the concept of the calendar and its various manifestations as adopted by humans and nature.

As Public Art Curator for the City of Markham, Wu recently oversaw the completion of the city’s first five-year public art master plan and is now managing its implementation. Wu was the curator-in-residence at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto (2016–17), and where she recently guest-curated a series of screen-based new commissions titled Immaterial Architecture (2021) and Chinese artist Miao Ying’s first solo exhibition in Canada (2022). In 2015, she was assistant curator for the inaugural Shanghai Urban Space Art Season, and in 2013, co-curated the Canada Pavilion at the fifth Bi-City Urbanism/Architecture Biennale in Shenzhen China. Wu’s curatorial work operates at the intersection of contemporary art, architecture, and the making of public space.

About the Varley Art Gallery of Markham

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham is a vital cultural hub for artists and diverse communities. A municipal gallery, we create critical conversations about Canadian art and society. We inspire local and national audiences to engage with art through outstanding exhibitions and rich public and educational programs relevant to the communities we serve. We support artists from York region and seek to broaden access to the arts for diverse artists and cultural groups. We also share and celebrate the life and work of F.H. Varley.

We share and acknowledge the traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples and their commitment to stewardship of the land. We acknowledge the communities in Circle. The North, West, South, and Eastern directions, and Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Anishnabeg, Seneca, Chippewa, and the current treaty holders Mississaugas of the Credit Peoples. We share the responsibility with the caretakers of this land to ensure the dish is never empty and to restore relationships that are based on peace, friendship, and trust. We are committed to reconciliation, partnership, and enhanced understanding.

Varley Art Gallery of Markham
216 Main Street Unionville, Markham, ON, L3R 2H1
905.477.7000 ext. 3261

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Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 12 PM to 4 PM
Wednesday: 12 PM to 4 PM
Thursday: 12 PM to 4 PM
Friday: 12 PM to 4 PM
Saturday: 10 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: 10 AM to 5 PM

Admission is free. Our venue is accessible, with automatic door openers to enter the building and exhibition spaces. One accessible washroom is available.

For more information, please contact:
Anik Glaude, Curator

We would like to thank the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham and TD Bank for their ongoing support of our Lunch and Learn speakers series.