Current Exhibitions

In Brief:

Artists of Paperhouse Studio and CBBAG | August 6 – Sept 9, 2017 | 1st Floor Hallway | Free

Not Sad Cold And Dead (like you thought) | July 24 – Sept 2, 2017 | 2nd Floor Hallway | Free

Plastic Coated (2017) | July 31 – August 25, 2017 | 3rd Floor Hallway | Free

Mary Anne Barkhouse: Le rêve aux loups | June 22 – August 20, 2017 | Koffler Gallery | Free

MOVING HOME | August 18 – 26, 2017 | Critical Distance | Free

Mountainburger | April – August, 2017 | 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

Featuring the work of artists from Paperhouse Studio and Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG)

August 6 – September 2, 2017 | 1st Floor Hallway Gallery

Hours: Open Daily 8 AM – 8 PM

Closing Reception: Thursday, August 24, 2017 | 6–9 PM | FREE



Second Floor Hallway Gallery

Not Sad Cold And Dead (like you thought) 

July 24 – September 2, 2017 | 2nd Floor Hallway Gallery

Hours: Open Daily 8 AM – 8 PM

Closing Reception: Thursday, August 24, 2017 | 6–9 PM | FREE

Organized by An Dy and Emma Steen

From an Art College consistently defined by phrases such as struggling, underfunded, rising tuitions, financial woes, mitigating the debt, and so on, we see people ask—here directly pulled from one 2012 Art Threat article —“what’s the value in art school?”

Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, or NSCAD, an opportunity to showcase the work coming out of a school whose students continues to thrive under less than ideal circumstances.  A university the size of NSCAD can take a lot of hits as the public eats up the drama in the death of an institution. While the administration peters around doing what it can to stop money leaking out of every crack and crevasse, we continue to see NSCAD students reacting to this environmental pressure and pressing on, creating work that has a distinct air of enthusiasm under what is now the fleeting passé that there’s not much happening east of Montréal.

Third Floor Hallway Gallery

Plastic Coated (2017)

July 31 – August 25, 2017 | 3rd Floor Hallway Gallery

Hours: Open Daily 8 AM – 8 PM

Closing Reception: Thursday, August 24, 2017 | 6–9 PM | FREE

Over the last century plastic has taken over the planet. Our modern day living is easy, disposable, and plastic coated.  The material under fire is labeled both a miracle and a curse, saving lives in the medical industry while causing havoc in our oceans.  Plastic Coated is an exhibit by multidisciplinary artist Anya Mielniczek which explores garbage and plastic pollution through material collages that bring awareness to environmental degradation our consumeristic tendencies have.

About the Artist

Mielniczek takes easily discarded materials such as plastic bags and candy wrappers adding value to what is otherwise considered trash. Inspired by waste and the treatment of our natural resources her pieces are emotionally charged, experimental and compiled of layers, textures, and the energy felt in unaltered lines. Decidedly forming a greater narrative pertinent to environmental change –informing herself as well as viewers, of the obstacles our finite world faces in light of our hyper consumption.

At The Koffler Gallery

Mary Anne Barkhouse: Le rêve aux loups

June 22 – August 20, 2017 | Koffler Gallery

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

Summer Opening Reception: Thursday, June 22, 2017 | 6–9 PM | FREE



In her first solo exhibition in Toronto, Mary Anne Barkhouse invokes the animal inhabitants of the land in artworks that reveal the transitory nature of empire, highlighting both the endurance and betrayals that delineate history north of the 49th parallel. Comprising a series of new and recent sculptures and photo collages, Le rêve aux loups reflects on our skewed experience of nature as a resource for human needs, rather than an ecosystem with its own intrinsic value.

Deeply engaged with environmental and Indigenous issues, Barkhouse’s artistic practice foregrounds a visual iconography where animals play a central role. She situates her work between the two worlds of the human and the natural, employing the beaver, owl, wolf and coyote as symbols of the ability to adapt and persist, regenerate and repair throughout endless incursions into their environs.

Descended from a family of traditional Northwest Coast Kwakiutl carvers, Barkhouse has always worked within a contemporary sculpture/installation style. Her elegant yet witty works frequently employ popular culture references, while her accomplished handling of traditional sculptural materials such as wood, bronze, porcelain and glass, bring both a refined sensibility and serious tone to her often playful installations. These sophisticated artworks offer a quiet beauty while revealing the difficult struggle over territory that continues amongst humans, animals and the environment.

IMAGE CREDIT: Mary Anne Barkhouse, Red Rover (detail) 2012. Floor installation with rubber mats, painted wooden cutouts, with pull cords and wooden wheels. 259.1 x 320 x 35.6 cm.​

At Critical Distance


The Art and Embodiment of Transience Emerging from Canada’s Child Welfare System

August 18 – 26, 2017 | Critical Distance | Suite 302

Hours: On view from 1-6 pm

Opening Reception: Thursday, August 17, 2017 | 6–9 PM | FREE







Critical Distance is pleased to announce our 2017 Summer Sessions exhibition, Moving Home: The Art and Embodiment of Transience Emerging from Canada’s Child Welfare SystemPresented by York University Human Geography master’s candidate Amelia Merhar, this project is the second to be hosted as part of our Summer Sessions initiative, a program through which we support emerging curators and artists by providing free space, mentorship, and installation support for their thesis exhibitions.


How is transience embodied, carried, and performed? How do repeated moves of homes, schools, and communities linger in the body, from the past to the present? What sort of people is the child welfare system inadvertently creating through so many foster and group home placements? Beyond pathologizing transience, what can we learn from the young and hyper-mobile?


Moving Home explores the embodiment of transience as experienced by young people who grew up in the Canadian child welfare system. It is part of Human Geography Master’s thesis research at York University coordinated by Amelia Merhar, inspired by her lived experience in care. Using arts-based, participatory, and Indigenous research methods, Merhar worked with 15 co-researcher artists in their chosen mediums to explore and compare urban/suburban and Northern/rural experiences at the partner youth art organizations SKETCH Working Arts in Toronto and Splintered Craft in Whitehorse. Artistic explorations of the theme of embodied transience include works of photography, textiles, silk-screening, collage, mixed media, dance, performance, music, spoken word, painting, text, jewelry, dream catchers, and installation.


The first Call to Action the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to reduce the number of Indigenous youth in care in Canada. There are more Indigenous youth in care today than were in Residential Schools. In Toronto, research has shown that Black youth are disproportionately apprehended and stay longer in the system than their non-Black peers (although through recent efforts these numbers are declining). Art alone can’t solve ongoing violence and colonialism; however it is a way to transgress and re-imagine present social boundaries. The goal of arts-based research is to provoke conversations instead of static research conclusions, and we invite you to enter the conversation here with former youth in care and their art.


The show opening is preceded by a research presentation at the Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Office from 1-3 pm and the launch of the project zine, TL;DR, a thesis in a zine. All are welcome. 

This project was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada–Master’s Scholarship –Award to Honour Nelson Mandela in 2016, recognizing its commitment to youth participation. Funding for co-researcher artist honoraria and art supplies provided by Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, and the Yukon Child and Youth Advocate. Northern travel and living expenses supported by Northern Scientific Training Fund–Government of Canada.


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

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Exhibition hours are 12–6 pm every day from August 18–26, 2017. Summer office hours are 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, left top and bottom: Starchild Dreaming Loud, Positive/Negative, 2016; right: Sophia Nahz, Welcome Home (1), 2016



May – August, 2017 | Billboard on Shaw Street

Hours: Gallery hours are Friday-Sunday from 12-5 pm, and by chance and appointment. Closed Statutory Holidays.

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 27 | 6:00-9:00 PM | Free

Critical Distance is pleased to announce the selected artwork for the Spring 2017 Billboard on Shaw, a partnership with Artscape Youngplace through which we are providing opportunities for curators and artists to present large format printed artworks for the freestanding mural/billboard outside our building on Shaw Street.

Mountainburger is an 8-foot image by Kitchener-based artist Aislinn Thomas.

Mountainburger will be on view outside Youngplace through August 2017. We wish to congratulate Aislinn Thomas, and to extend sincere thanks to the many curators and artists whose thoughtful proposals for our spring billboard were a pleasure to consider. Stay tuned for new opportunities to submit proposals again in the future.

Please join us to celebrate the new billboard on Thursday, April 27th from 6–9 pm
A reception for artist will take place in our third floor gallery at Youngplace and will coincide with the opening of Signals & Sentiments, our Featured Exhibition for the 2017 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC)
Suite 302, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
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About the Artist

Aislinn Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes video, performance, installation and text-based work. She culls material from everyday experiences and relationships, exploring themes of vulnerability, empathy, possibility and failure. Aislinn is a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo MFA program and earned a BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is the recipient of several grants and awards including a C.D. Howe Scholarship for Arts and Design, a Social Science and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Masters Scholarship, and grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Aislinn currently lives and works in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Critical Distance thanks Artscape Youngplace for their generous support of this project.

Upcoming Exhibitions