From Impressionism to Indigenous Art, Five Upcoming Exhibitions to Delight Visual Arts Lovers in 2022

Whatever 2022 brings, there will be great art – and, fingers crossed, it will be safely accessible in galleries, museums and public spaces across the country.

Travelers may need to think twice before attending the Venice Biennale, where Vancouver artist Stan Douglas will unveil new works in the Canada Pavilion in April, but here are five engaging exhibitions coming closer to home them.

The 10 Most Amazing and Surprising Works of Art in Canadian Galleries in 2021

P is for Poodle (1983). © General idea.Document/General idea

General idea

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

From dressing up as poodles to turning AIDS drugs into pop-art icons, the trio of artists operating as General Idea have proven to be ever-inventive social critics. Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson met in the 1960s counterculture scene and created a fictional group personality that could take on anything from the celebrity marketing machine to the pharmaceutical industry . With over 200 works, the National Gallery is holding the first comprehensive retrospective of their remarkable career, which ended when Partz and Zontal died of AIDS in 1994.

From June 3 to November 20.

Helen McNicoll, Sunny September (1913). Oil on canvas. Collection of Pierre Lassonde.Idra Labrie/MNBAQ

Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

The National Gallery is suffering an embarrassment of riches in 2022 as its big look at the Canadian Impressionists finally returns to Ottawa after a pandemic-prolonged European tour. The show traces Canadian contributions to an international art movement, featuring both expatriate artists like Helen McNicoll and James Wilson Morrice and those who made their careers in Canada, like Maurice Cullen and Lawren Harris. And, complicating triumphalist accounts of the Group of Seven, it shows how these varied painters advanced modernism at home.

From Jan. 21 to June 12

Nicolas Party, Still Life, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich. © Nicholas Party.Isabelle Arthuis/Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The mauve hour (Mauve Twilight) by Nicolas Party

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Swiss-born international artist Nicolas Party is recognized for his colorful figurative art that is both highly accessible and oddly uncomfortable. He paints landscapes, still lifes and portraits, although the biomorph and the anthropomorph are sometimes indistinguishable in a surreal style where people turn into mushrooms or fruits gather like sheltered animals. The artist will also paint murals for this major exhibition, promising to transform the museum’s galleries into an extension of his fantastical vision.

From 12 Feb. to 16 Oct.

Kent Monkman, Study for the Sparrow (2021). Acrylic painting on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.Kent Monkman/Courtesy of Kent Monkman

Kent Monkman: Being Legendary

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

Cree con man Kent Monkman is hosting an exhibition that will feature objects from the ROM’s collection and his own works that respond to them. Following his 2019 success in creating murals for the Metropolitan Museum in New York inspired by works in this collection, expect another brazen confrontation with colonialism as Monkman continues his provocative revamp of history painting.

Oct. 8 to Mar. 19, 2023

Untitled. George Clutesi v. 1967. UVIC Special Collections. Authorization given by George Clutesi Jr.Courtesy of Bateman Gallery

George Clutesi: ḥašaḥʔap / ʷ ʔaapḥii ʷ / ʷ ʕc̓ik / ʷ ḥaaʔaksuqƛ ʷ / ʷ ʔiiḥmisʔap ʷ

The Bateman Gallery, Victoria

George Clutesi was a founding Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) artist and cultural activist from the Tseshaht First Nation who exhibited at Expo 67 and was among the first Indigenous artists to mount a solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. This long-awaited retrospective, featuring 20 works of art and pieces by contemporary Nuu-chah-nulth artists, was put together with the help of Nuu-chah-nulth advisors and the Clutesi family. It also includes documentary material on Clutesi’s experiences at the Alberni boarding school and discusses her work in reviving Tseshaht song and dance. The title of the show translates to “guarding a generous and talented treasure”.

From June 9 to October 22; tour to Alberni Valley Museum in late spring 2023