Summer 2024 Exhibitions and Reception at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham

Sonny Assu, The Away Team Beams Down to What Appears to Be an Uninhabited Planet, 2016, digital intervention on an Emily Carr painting (Vanquished, 1930), archival pigment print, 55.8 cm x 83.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Equinox Gallery

To go boldly

Sonny Assu | Ana Diab | Rosalie Favell | Dara Gellman | Sky Hopinka | Stefana Fratila | Shelley Niro | Alex McLeod | Rajni Perera | Claire Scherzinger | Brendan Lee Satish Tang | Syrus Marcus Ware

May 25 to September 2, 2024
Curated by Anik Glaude

To go boldly explores how contemporary artists look to science fiction to confront the past, make sense of the present, and imagine the future. Through this genre, complex social and cultural topics, such as racial justice, colonial violence, gender identity, and ableism, can be explored in profound and accessible ways. Worldbuilding is one of the science fiction methodologies adopted by artists to achieve this goal. Creating their own worlds filled with otherworldly beings and fantastical settings allows artists to escape established conventions and establish new narratives for themselves.

To go boldly also delves into the relationship between science fiction and popular culture. Using Star Trek as an example, it explores how fandom can become a conceptual framework through which artists explore their own identities, aspirations, and critiques. The exhibition features newly commissioned artworks alongside existing pieces. Some of these works engage directly with the Star Trek universe through its recognizable iconography and beloved storylines. Others express similar themes but are influenced by other sources.

Ultimately, the exhibition aims to illustrate that space is not the final frontier, but rather a rich and diverse arena where science fiction, contemporary art, and fandom can coalesce.

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Agnes Johnson, Milne Country House, Markham, n.d., oil on canvas, 42.8 cm x 63.7 cm. Collection of the Varley Art Gallery of Markham. Gift of the Estate of Kathleen Gormley McKay, 1996.

Summer Solstice

May 25 to September 2, 2024
Curated by Anik Glaude and Susanne Lee

The summer solstice is an astronomical event that occurs when the sun is furthest from the equator and at its highest point in the sky. Due to the earth’s axis and the position of the sun, it is also the day with the longest period of sunlight and the shortest period of darkness. In the northern hemisphere, this event occurs in June and marks the official start of summer.

Many artists have revelled in the opportunity to spend time outdoors during the summer months, capturing the essence of the season. Featuring bright landscape vistas, colourful blossoms, and scenes of people enjoying various summer activities, Summer Solstice presents an eclectic assortment of works from the gallery’s permanent collection. Interspersed among these paintings are sketches by F. H. Varley, offering viewers an insight into what might be happening beyond each frame.

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Summer Exhibitions Opening Reception

Saturday, May 25, 2024
1:30 PM to 4 PM

Free | Registration not required

Kick off your summer season at the Varley with our Summer Exhibitions Opening Reception. Meet the exhibiting artists, join in guided tours, enjoy food and music, and get hands-on with family-friendly craft workshops and board games. Plus, don’t miss the chance to meet a Star Trek-themed cosplayer as she roams the venue!

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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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Summer Hours
Monday | Closed (July to August only: 12 PM to 4 PM)
Tuesday to Thursday | 12 PM to 4 PM
Friday | 12 PM to 4 PM (June to August only: 12 PM to 8 PM)
Saturday and Sunday | 10 AM to 5 PM


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:
Jessica Li, Communications