Gathering Fictions: A Dialogue on Painting

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham opens a new exhibition on May 7.

May 7 to September 4, 2022

Janet Jones and Michel Daigneault are contemporary painters who question and challenge our understanding of abstraction. Aware of and informed by historical and formal definitions of the genre, they see abstraction as moving beyond specific movements to convey broader meaning today. Both artists look to abstraction as a way to explore different realities, or as modes of perceiving what is true and is what is not. Both employ similar methods—layering, patterning, and collage—to assemble their narratives from a diversity of sources. The resulting paintings, however, differ significantly in scale, imagery, and intent. Established artists and peers, Jones and Daigneault intentionally cultivate a collegial relationship that thrives on debate, on creating space for dialogue that permits both different ideas and approaches to art making to flourish.

Curated by Anik Glaude

About the artists

Janet Jones was born in Montréal, Québec. She received her BFA in painting and photography from Concordia University – studying painting with Guido Molinari and Yves Gaucher. She is currently a Toronto based painter whose work has been exhibited across Canada, in Los Angeles, New York, England, Germany, France and China. Her recent projects include: the solo exhibition, The Dream Machine at Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montréal (2017), participation in the Montréal Painting Biennale 2020, two solo exhibitions, Playtimes (2015) and Joyride (2012) both at Katzman Contemporary Toronto, a national touring exhibition of her paintings, DaDa Delirium, with an accompanying catalogue (2011), and participation in the Empire of Dreams exhibition, MOCCA (Summer 2010) curated by David Liss. Jones has been a visiting artist in France, England, Russia, China, the Netherlands, and Cuba. Jones received her MFA from York University and her PhD from New York University in art theory and criticism. A Professor in the Department of Visual Arts, York University, Toronto, where she teaches painting, she has been Chair of the Department of Visual Art & Art History and Director of the MFA/PhD Program in Visual Arts.

Janet Jones is represented by Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montréal.

Michel Daigneault was born in Montréal, where he completed a B.A. in Visual Arts and Art History and Philosophy at Concordia University and the Université de Montréal. He later studied Visual Arts and Art History in the graduate program at Hunter College, New York, and completed his Master’s degree at the Université de Montréal. Daigneault is currently living and working in Montréal and Toronto where he teaches at York University. His work has been widely shown in Canada, the US and France and it is part of many museum and corporate collections, notably the National Gallery of Canada, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée des beaux-arts du Québec, and the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. He received the Pollock-Krasner award in 1995 as well as several grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. He was awarded the Paris studio in 1994 and the P.S.1 studio in 1988 from the Canada Council for the Arts. His work was recently part of the C’est ainsi qu’entre la lumière, an exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

Daigneault joined York University’s Visual Arts Department in 2002. His previous teaching appointments were at Ohio State University; Columbus, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax; Emily Carr School of Art and Design; Vancouver; and the University of Lethbridge; Alberta. He also taught at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Québec and École nationale supérieure d’arts de Cergy Pontoise in France.

Associated Programs

Saturday, May 7, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EST)

Artists Janet Jones and Michel Daigneault will lead a walkthrough of the exhibition Gathering Fictions: A Dialogue on Painting discussing the different approaches to abstraction they take in their work. Talks will begin promptly 3 PM.

The Varley Art Gallery follows all COVID19 provincial guidelines. Wearing masks in our facility is not required but strongly encouraged.

Lunch and Learn
Wednesday, June 1, 12:30 to 1:30 PM (EST)
Presented on Zoom, Registration is required

The conversation continues with artists Janet Jones and Michel Daigneault. Join this free webinar to learn more about the artists’ respective practices and the wider contexts of the work on display in our current exhibition, Gathering Fictions: A Dialogue on Painting.

This presentation is part of the Varley’s Lunch and Learn series and proudly sponsored by the Varley-McKay Art Foundation.

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, a founding member of the Group of Seven. The Varley Art Gallery is situated on the traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe. 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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The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday, and Sunday, 12 PM to 4PM and on Saturdays from 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 or questions, please contact:
Anik Glaude, Curator

Image credits: (left) Janet Jones, Voices of Love (detail), 2021, acrylic gouache, silver, pearlized, and iridescent paint, and oil paint on printed canvas, 243.8 cm x 137.2 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Patrick Mikhail Gallery. (right) Michel Daigneault, Violet (detail), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 147 cm x 137 cm. Courtesy of the artist.