Current & Upcoming Exhibitions

In Brief:

Complexities & Cloth | January 15-February 3, 2018 | 1st Floor Hallway | Free 

Analog Shift | January 15-21, 2018 | 1st Floor Hallway | Free 

My City My Six | February 6-24, 2018 | 2nd Floor Hallway | Free

Black Brilliance | February 3-24, 2018 | 3rd Floor Hallway | Free

Furthest Boundless | Nicole Collins | January 18-March 18, 2018 | Koffler Gallery | Free

L’esprit de l’escalier | January 18-March 18, 2018 | Stairwells | Free

WE LOOK AT ANIMALS BECAUSE | 2018 | Critical Distance | Free

Ego | Mural on Shaw Street | Free 

Upcoming Exhibitions:

At the Hallway Galleries

With over 9,350 square feet of space, the Hallway Galleries occupy the hallways and stairwells of Artscape Youngplace, on (and between) three floors of this beautiful 100-year-old building. Open seven days a week with free admission. Rent the Hallway Galleries for art exhibitions.


First Floor Hallway Gallery

Complexities & Cloth

Dani Ortman

January 15-February 24, 2018

Hours: Monday – Sunday 8am – 9pm | Opening Reception: Tuesday January 16 | 6-9pm

Complexities & Cloth looks at the detailed process involved in crafting woven textiles, while opening a dialogue with the fabrics of our time. Through the lens of hand weaving you are invited to take a closer look into the process of making cloth. Where each thread is calculated to bend over and under one another, creating the structural bonds that form our fabrics. Observing that within these bends of interwoven lines, lays the potential for delicate pattern work. Let your eyes indulge in the elegant subtleties of hand woven cloth, while your mind considers the complexities of how it was made. The designer and maker Dani Ortman brings a slow and thoughtful approach to crafting textiles. Designing contemporary patterns, thoughtfully sourcing yarns, hand dyeing colours, and weaving each piece on a traditional floor loom. She produces textiles that encourage the value of cloth be re-considered, as the precious commodity that it is.

Analog Shift

Darin Montgomery, Rachel Illingworth, Robyn Luk

January 15-21, 2018

Hours: Monday – Sunday 8am – 9pm

Analog Shift is an interactive display that serves as a promotional tool for Fin, a Seattle based design brand, as well as commentary on virtual reality. Images of Fin’s actual showroom are viewed through a View-Master highlighting that physical objects are needed to create a virtual environment.


Second Floor Hallway Gallery

My City My Six

February 3-24, 2018

Hours: Monday – Sunday 8am – 9pm | Opening Reception: Tuesday January 16 | 6-9pm

My City My Six celebrates the diverse stories of Toronto residents through an exhibition of six-word stories paired with visual art pieces from local artists. My City My Six is a Cultural Hotspot project, in celebration of Canada 150, produced in partnership with the City of Toronto. My City My Six is a participatory public art project that reveals Toronto and its residents in celebration of Canada 150, six words at a time. From January through May 2017, Torontonians of all ages and backgrounds participated in workshops and submitted stories that tell something essential about themselves in six words.

Out of the over 4,000 submissions that showed the diverse lives that collectively make up this great city, 150 of these stories were selected by a diverse and interdisciplinary jury which included: Poet Laureate, Anne Michaels, alongside Donald C. Ainslie (Canada 150 Representative), Patrick Walters, Annie Wong, Shelley Hamilton and Tanya Neumeyer.

For more information about My City My Six, visit: www.toronto.ca/culturalhotspot

Third Floor Hallway Gallery

Black Brilliance

Downsview Secondary School

February 4-24, 2018

Hours: Monday – Sunday 8am – 9pm | Opening Reception: Wedneday February 7 | 6-8pm

Inspired by the energy of the Second Annual Black Brilliance Conference, held at Downsview Secondary School in Toronto in November, 2017, Auset Luxor, a Downsview graduate, and a student at OCADU, created this series of photographs to celebrate the power of the day and of the Black youth from the many Toronto District School Board schools that participated.

This is Auset Luxor’s debut photography exhibition.

The Black Brilliance Conference was developed, organized and run by students for students. The concept arose out of a trip to Harvard University initiated by Toronto native and Harvard graduate, Toni Morgan, and supported by the Toronto District School Board. The conference promotes optimism, resilience, cogent analysis and truth-talking. The result is a forum where honest brilliance emerges.

“Black Brilliance” is a collection of photographs that promotes confidence, solidarity, and self-love within the black community.

The show is supported by the Toronto District School Board.

At The Koffler Gallery

Nicole Collins: Furthest Boundless

Curated by Mona Filip

January 18 – March 18, 2018 | Koffler Gallery

Hours: Tuesday to Friday 12 PM – 6 PM, Saturday & Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM, Closed Mondays & Statutory Holidays

Winter Opening Reception: Thursday, January 18, 2018 | 6–9 PM | FREE

In a major, new mixed media installation complemented by a series of recent paintings, Toronto artist Nicole Collins delves into the emotional territory of loss as she explores the human struggle between grief and acceptance, gravity and grace.

Developed for the Koffler Gallery, Furthest Boundless is inspired by two concepts of Ancient Greek philosophy: Aphelion – the point on the orbit of a celestial body that is furthest from the sun – and Apeiron – the boundless, the origin for all that is. At the centre of the installation, a monumental deconstructed painting built out of woven and knotted nets of materials, pigments and wax faces a delicate video that responds with ephemeral movement and gesture to its static presence. The immersive environment is completed by an atmospheric sound piece based on traditional shape-note singing.

Driven by an impulse to repair, Collins’ visceral paintings attempt to suture, layer and preserve the damaged. This new work further strives to dismantle and reconfigure the painted surface, pushing against the physical limits of materials lifted from stretchers and sculpturally re-envisioned. Engaging the potent vocabulary of the colour black, Collins evokes the accumulation of all colours, the darkest shadows, the burnt remains, the fertile soil, creating poignant works that consider both frailty and resilience. Holes, rips and indentations in the fabrics create permeable layers that disperse yet hold together the whole, materializing absences.

Through painting, video and sound, Furthest Boundless articulates a personal response to a universal experience, reflecting a collective search for meaning in loss.

Nicole Collins has exhibited extensively since 1994, including solo exhibitions at The University of Waterloo Art Gallery (2013), The Art Gallery of Ontario (2013) and The Embassy of Canada in Tokyo (2001) and group exhibitions in Toronto, Hamilton, St. Johns, New York, Miami, London and Zurich. Her work has been featured online and in magazines, newspapers and books including the major survey Abstract Painting in Canada (Roald Nasgaard), the 3rd edition of A Concise History of Canadian Painting (Dennis Reid), Carte Blanche, Volume 2: Painting, and The Donovan Collection Catalogue. Collins is an Assistant Professor in the Drawing & Painting program at the Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCADU) and she lives in Toronto with her husband artist Michael Davidson and their daughter. Collins’ work is represented by General Hardware Contemporary in Toronto.

L’esprit de l’escalier

Curated by Letticia Cosbert

January 18-March 18, 2018

Hours: Monday – Sunday 8am – 9pm | Opening Reception: Tuesday January 16 | 6-9pm

L’esprit de l’escalier is a new audio installation by CCC, located in the North and South stairwells of Artscape Youngplace.

The work uses the premise of a stairwell moment to examine the relationship between ideas of death, sleep, loss and preservation—all the words you wish you’d said and all the thoughts you wish you’d documented. Based on six short essays written, recorded and produced by CCC and voiced by Abigail Whitney and Stella Isaac, the audio piece reworks these texts into a discordant array of thoughts that roam from one topic to the next, attempting to regain their focus.

L’esprit de l’escalier was commissioned by Koffler.Digital and developed in conjunction with Nicole Collins: Furthest Boundless, also opening January 18, 6-9 PM at the Koffler Gallery.

At Critical Distance


Featuring Quratulain Butt, Khaled Hourani, Maha Maamoun, Smriti Mehra, Huma Mulji, Ed Panar, Alex Sheriff, and Andrea Luka Zimmerman

Curated by Toleen Touq and Nahed Mansour

January 25-March 25, 2018

Hours: Thursday–Sunday from 12–5 pm | Opening Reception: Thursday, January 25th | 6–9 pm

In partnership with South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC), Critical Distance is pleased to present We Look At Animals Because, an exhibition that gazes on animality. Through the lens of spectatorship, the show explores the shifting ways in which animals are regarded, represented and accorded meaning in post-industrial landscapes. Exhibiting photographs, video, works on paper, and sculpture, the featured artists reveal the nuanced, complicated and unexpected paradoxes that mark our relationships with cosmopolitan animals.


Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace | 180 Shaw Street | Toronto | Ontario | M6J 2W5

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Gallery hours are Friday–Sunday 12–5 pm and by appointment through November 26th. Office hours by appointment only.
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Critical Distance is a not-for-profit initiative and space devoted to the support and advancement of curatorial practice in Toronto, Canada, and beyond. Part gallery and publisher, part professional association and community, CDCC is an open platform for diverse curatorial practices and perspectives, and a forum for ideas on curating and exhibition-making as ways to engage and inform audiences from all walks of life. For more info, visit our website or social media pages, linked above.

image: Sarah Nasby, Living Things (Dorothy Hafner vessel, kombucha, lines pattern), 2017

Ego, 2018 – Quratulain Butt 

2018 | Billboard on Shaw Street

In partnership with South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC), Critical Distance is pleased to present the Winter 2018 Billboard on Shaw, featuring work by Quratulain Butt curated by Toleen Touq and Nahed Mansour as part of the exhibition We Look At Animals Because.

Growing up with roosters as pets, this motif appears frequently in Butt’s paintings. Originally created using delicate watercolor strokes in the Gadrang (opaque) miniature painting technique, the artist presents figures of brawling roosters as stand-ins for human conflict. Butt also draws, perhaps comically, on the pressures of conformity that come with family and tradition. For this exhibition, an enlarged and digitized version of the original Ego painting was commissioned from the artist for the eight-foot square billboard structure.

Quratulain Butt was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, and trained as a miniature painter and sculptor at the National College of the Arts in Lahore, and the Hunerkada Academy of Visual and Performing Arts Islamabad. Quratulain’s work shares concerns with social hierarchy, war conflict, hypocrisy and hope. Since 2013 she has been based in Canada.

In addition to this work by Quratulain Butt, We Look At Animals Because features photographs, works on paper, sculpture, and videos by Khaled Hourani, Maha Maamoun, Huma Mulji, Ed Panar, Alex Sheriff, and Andrea Luka Zimmerman, on view in the CDCC gallery (Suite 302 on the 3rd floor of Artscape Youngplace) and other locations within the building through March 25, 2018.

Gallery hours are Thursday–Sunday 12–5 pm and by appointment. Admission is always free, and both gallery and building are fully accessible. Visit/follow us at criticaldistance.ca, savac.net, or our respective Facebook and Instagram pages for more info and announcements of upcoming exhibition-related events.

Critical Distance and South Asian Visual Arts Centre are grateful for the support of the Toronto Arts Council in making this exhibition possible.