Our Exhibits

The Vancouver Art Gallery presents exhibitions of work by artists ranging from historic masters to leading-edge contemporaries. These include major thematic exhibitions, presentations of solo artists and smaller, more focused showcases. In a typical year, 2 to 3 exhibitions are borrowed from other institutions and 10 to 12 exhibitions are developed in-house, drawing on our permanent collection and loans of works from around the world. In addition, the Gallery tours a few of its exhibitions each year.

Past Exhibitions

Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting

September 30, 2017 to January 1, 2018

John Kissick
burning the houses of cool man, yeah No.5 (hang the DJ), 2016
oil and acrylic on canvas
Courtesy of Katzman Contemporary

Sandra Meigs
horse tack (from The Basement Piles series), 2013
acrylic on canvas
Courtesy Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto

Stephanie Aitken
Calypso, 2012
oil on linen
Courtesy of the Artist
Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery

The story of contemporary painting in Canada is constantly under revision, and for good reason—dynamic and influential art practices, wildly differing opinions, strongly held beliefs, and high expectations, make for a charged atmosphere in art schools, studios, and public and private galleries. Within the community of painters, strong ideas give shape to new modes of painting, new techniques and new dogma that are in turn shared, debated, tested and critiqued in studios across the country.

Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting offers an insight into two distinctly different modes of painting that have come to dominate contemporary painting in this country. The origins of both can be effectively traced back to the 1970s, to a moment when the continued existence of painting was hotly debated. Within that debate two new strategies were devised, one that proposed the possibility of conceptual painting—a highly refined notion of painting that emerged from and returned to the idea—and a second, ambivalent proposition that valued actions and materials over ideas—in short, doing and making were pitted against ideas and concepts.

This exhibition traces the legacy of that debate and documents the work of 31 artists who have been largely responsible for the strong revival that painting now enjoys in this country. With work by artists from Halifax to Victoria and many places in-between, this exhibition offers a convincing survey of the lively debate that makes painting relevant and meaningful today.

Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting is curated by Vancouver Art Gallery Senior Curator, Bruce Grenville, and artist and Emily Carr University of Art + Design professor David MacWilliam. It will be accompanied by a 112-page publication with texts by the two curators.

List of artists

Stephanie Aitken | Marvin Luvualu António | Rebecca Brewer | Sarah Cale | Neil Campbell | Tammi Campbell | Arabella Campbell | Allyson Clay | Paterson Ewen | Gerald Ferguson | Eric Fischl | Jessica Groome | Neil Harrison | Colleen Heslin | John Heward | Jeremy Hof | Garry Neill Kennedy | John Kissick | Elizabeth McIntosh | Sandra Meigs | Guido Molinari | Guy Pellerin | Jeanie Riddle | Francine Savard | Michael Snow | Jeffrey Spalding | Ron Terada | Nathalie Thibault | Claude Tousignant | Julie Trudel | Joyce Wieland

Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and co-curated by Bruce Grenville, Senior Curator and David MacWilliam, Emily Carr University of Art + Design professor.

Generously supported by:
Cathy Zuo
Phil Lind
The Timothy C. Kerr Family Foundation



Download the complimentary Vancouver Art Gallery Audio Guide App using gallery or personal wifi, search for “Vancouver Art Gallery” in the appropriate application on your mobile device. Devices are also available for loan at the admissions desk at no additional cost.

We asked the artists in Entangled to describe the process behind their work, as well as their literary influences. To hear their responses download the Entangled audio guide, available on our App.

The histories of painting and literature are more closely tied than one might imagine. The earliest Western examples being illustrations of religious texts. Depictions of biblical figures, as seen in Giovanni Francesco’s St Luke Painting the Virgin and Child (c. 1650),* were closely followed by images portraying the proximity of philosophers and political writers to artists. Literature and language continue to have a deep connection to contemporary painting, with literature often taking the role of object, material or catalyst in its relations to Conceptual and Performative art. To accompany your seeing and listening experience you will find the books referenced by the artists inEntangled throughout the exhibition and are invited to sit and read in the context of their work.

*This work can be seen in Portrait of the Artist: An Exhibition from the Royal Collection, on the main floor, October 28, 2017–Feburary 4 2018