Emotional Landscapes

February 15 – April 26, 2020

Alex R. M. Thompson, The Depths, 2018, etching, aquatint and drypoint on paper,  55.88 x 57.78 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

About the Exhibition

Jessica Karuhanga and Alex R. M. Thompson, with F. Carmichael, A. J. Casson, A. Y. Jackson, J. E. H. MacDonald and F. H. Varley

Curated by Tak Pham

Emotional Landscapes juxtaposes works from the Varley Art Gallery of Markham’s collection with the contemporary practices of Jessica Karuhanga and Alex R. M. Thompson. Building on the nineteenth century English Romantic tradition, the Group of Seven (including Frederick H. Varley—for whom the Varley Art Gallery is named) captured the raw and emotional nature of places like Algonquin Park creating a sublime beauty that deeply affects many viewers. The Group often depicted landscapes that are devoid of human bodies. However, still noticeable within their works are marks indicative of human activity. The result is emotional and melancholic images that continue to exist and bear witness to human presence even long after it is gone.

Responding to this established, and at times problematic, narrative of historical Canadian landscape painting, Karuhanga and Thompson propose a political and contemporary view of nature and landscape, one that acknowledges the consequences of the humans that live and work in it. The sublime beauty, prominent in the Group of Seven’s work has been replaced by a terrible blight on the environment affecting everyone that exists within it. Instead of the melancholic passivity seen in the Group of Seven’s work Karuhanga and Thompson emphasize the inherent effects of human activities on the environment

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham gratefully acknowledges Partners in Art as the lead sponsor of this exhibition. This was made possible with the support of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham.

Image: Alex R. M. Thompson, The Depths (detail), 2018, etching, aquatint and drypoint on paper, 55.88 x 57.78 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Opening Reception 

Saturday, February 15, 2020
6 to 9 PM
Free Admission

The place to be on a Saturday night in Markham. Join us for critical conversations, contemporary art, food and fun in the studio.

Dance and Movement Workshop

April 2020
Free with Registration 

Inspired by our show Emotional Landscapes, learn to move your body to different soundscapes with a professional dance instructor. Mounted in partnership with the Flato Markham Theatre.

Logos art exhibition Markham Emotional landscapes

Directions & Parking

Get directions to the Varley Art Gallery of Markham. Located on historic Main Street Unionville, north of Carlton Road.
Parking is available behind the Varley Art Gallery, with street parking along Carlton Road.

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Monday (July to August): 11 AM to 4 PM
Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday: 11 AM to 4 PM
Thursday: 11 AM to 8 PM
Saturday: 10 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: 11 AM to 4 PM


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