Winter 2019-2020 Exhibitions at the MacLaren Art Centre



Bewabon Shilling
Between the Forest and the Sky
November 30, 2019 to March 2, 2020
Janice Laking Gallery
Curator: Emily McKibbon
Reception: Thursday, December 5, 7 to 9 pm

This major solo exhibition highlights recent paintings by Bewabon Shilling depicting the forest and skies around his home at Rama Mnjikaning First Nation. Working from the studio built by his late father, the artist Arthur Shilling (1941-1986), the works reveal a landscape refracted through a palette inspired by his father, but rendered in a visual vocabulary that is entirely his own. Heroic in format and presented in the changeful, grey light of the Janice Laking Gallery at midwinter, the paintings suggest a landscape wilder than our ability to comprehend it.

Bewabon Shilling was born in 1977 in Orillia, Ontario. He studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where he received both the Norman Jewison Award and the Rose of Cedarvale Scholarship. He has exhibited at Roberts Gallery, Toronto; the Gary Farmer Gallery, Santa Fe; Orillia Museum of Art and History; and Kensington Fine Art, Calgary. He is represented by Roberts Gallery, Toronto; the Collectors Gallery, Calgary; and the Darrell Bell Gallery, Saskatoon.

Bertram Brooker
This Tremendous Arc
November 30, 2019 to February 23, 2020
The Carnegie Room
Curator: Noor Alé
Reception: Thursday, December 5, 7 to 9 pm

Bertram Brooker (1888-1955) was a British-born Canadian artist of prodigious talent with an insatiable curiosity. Often described as “a man of all the arts,” Brooker was a multifaceted artist and the roles that defined him—art critic, novelist, poet, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, amateur actor, choir singer, copywriter and adman—profoundly inspired his visual practice. This Tremendous Arc illuminates one aspect of Brooker’s prolific career. Inspired by canonical literature, his ink and pencil illustrations in this exhibition embody the syncretic nature of his practice. Spanning three decades of artistic production, these works drawn from the MacLaren’s Permanent Collection encompass Brooker’s re-imaginings of literary masterpieces, among them the Book of Kings from the Old Testament (c. 960–c. 560 BCE), Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1866).

Northern Convergences
Felix Kalmenson, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Charles Stankievech
December 5, 2019 to March 8, 2020
Gallery 3
Curator: Emily McKibbon
Reception: Thursday, December 5, 7 to 9 pm

Northern Convergences brings together four contemporary artists responding to the MacLaren’s Sovfoto Archive, a collection of 23,116 vintage photographs from the Stalinist era in the USSR. Rereading this collection of photographs as a colonial archive, the exhibition looks at the consonance between Canadian and Russian colonialism from 1733 to the present.

For In Memoriam (2012), Alutiiq artist and choreographer Tanya Lukin Linklater investigates intergenerational grief and embodied memory in response to colonial, Russian violence at Refuge Rock in the Kodiak archipelago of Alaska, her homelands. Russian-born Canadian artist Felix Kalmenson examines the Jewish Autonomous Republic, a short-lived Soviet project for Jewish statehood, which resettled Soviet Jews in the southern borderlands of Russia’s Far-East. Vuntut Gwitchin artist Jeneen Frei Njootli engages with archival material depicting the larger Gwich’in Nation, utilizing found colonial archival vocabulary alongside words the Dinjii Zhuh use to self-describe. Toronto artist Charles Stankievech publishes the BAR-1 DEW Line Archive from one of the Distant Early Warning radar stations in operation during the Cold War. Taken together, these projects demonstrate an uneasy symbiotic relationship between Canadian and Russian colonial practices, dating back to the origins of Canada itself.

(In)tangible Archives: Films by Isuma
December 5, 2019 to February 17, 2020
Molson Community Gallery
Curator: Noor Alé
Reception: December 5, 7 to 9 pm

Complementing Northern Convergences, a screening of three films by the artist collective Isuma investigate archives as both physical and oral repositories, contrasting Inuit histories and reflections on colonial exile, shamanism and museum collections. Isuma is the first Inuit production company in Canada, co-founded by Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn, Paul Apak Angilirq and Pauloosie Qulitalik in Igloolik, Nunavut, in 1990. Isuma’s project at the 2019 Venice Biennale represented the first showcase of art by Inuit makers in the Canadian Pavilion.

Sovfoto 20/20
December 5, 2019 to March 8, 2020
Joan Lehman Gallery and
Curators: Emily McKibbon and Daria Melnikov
Reception: Thursday, December 5, 7 to 9 pm

2020, and its consonance with 20/20 vision, has long been a date that’s tied with futurity. Sovfoto 20/20 highlights the aesthetics of innovation as a means of demonstrating how artists and designers can be architects of the future. The photographs are from the Sovfoto Archive, a collection of 23,116 Soviet press prints from the Stalinist era in the holdings of the MacLaren Art Centre. Inherently flawed as historical documents, these images nonetheless reveal how the future is continuously reimagined in the present moment.

Image credits: Bewabon Shilling, Beyond the Border, 2019, oil on canvas, 112 x 112 cm. Photo courtesy of the artist (left); Bertram Brooker, Ahab’s Death (Elijah Series), 1929, pen and ink on paper, 38 x 25.4 cm. Collection of the MacLaren Art Centre. Photo: André Beneteau (centre); Tanya Lukin Linklater, In Memoriam, 2012, video still. Courtesy of the artist (right)


About the MacLaren Art Centre
The MacLaren Art Centre is the major public art gallery in central Ontario serving the residents of Barrie, the County of Simcoe and the surrounding area. The Gallery presents a year-round programme of innovative world-class exhibitions, education activities and special events.

The MacLaren Art Centre is a registered charity and relies on public and private support to sustain its operations and programming. The MacLaren gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of its Members, Patrons, Donors, Sponsors, Partners, the City of Barrie, the Ontario Arts Council, the Government of Ontario, Canada Council for the Arts and exhibition sponsor Barriston Law.

Gallery Location
37 Mulcaster Street, Barrie, Ontario, L4M 3M2, 705-721-9696
From Toronto: From highway 400 north, 90 km north of Toronto, take the Dunlop Street East exit to Mulcaster Street and turn left. The MacLaren is one block north on the right hand at the intersection of Collier Street and Mulcaster Street.

Gallery Admission
Suggested admission $5

Gallery Hours
Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Closed December 25, 26, 27 and January 1; Open February 17 (Family Day), 12:00 to 4:00 pm

Wheelchair accessible