McMichael Canadian Art Collection Announces 2023-2024 Exhibition Schedule

Shary Boyle (b. 1972), Revival Beach, 2011–2015, ink and gouache on paper, 89 x 107 cm, private collection. © Shary Boyle

Tom Thomson (1877–1917), Silver Birches, 1915–1916, oil on canvas, 40.9 x 56 cm, Gift of Colonel R.S. McLaughlin, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1968.7.12

February 6, 2023, KLEINBURG, ON – The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is pleased to announce a diverse exhibition program for 2023 that engages deeply with the natural world, examining artists’ many views of it and humankind’s place within it. Led by Executive Director Ian Dejardin and Chief Curator Sarah Milroy (CM), the McMichael will present a series of special exhibitions that will encourage visitors to question their relationship to the environment while reflecting on their interactions with one another.

In 2023, the McMichael continues to produce its acclaimed series of virtual and in-person programs, tours, publications and curatorial talks, allowing visitors to explore the collection from wherever they are.

“World-class attractions like the McMichael Canadian Art Collection enrich our province’s cultural sector,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “The 2023 program will attract both local visitors and people from around the world to engage with these stunning and diverse new exhibitions.”

All dates and details are subject to change.

Shary Boyle (b. 1972), Revival Beach, 2011–2015, ink and gouache on paper, 89 x 107 cm, private collection. © Shary Boyle

The Uses of Enchantment: Art & Environmentalism
May 6 – October 29, 2023

In a time when the human relationship to the natural world is rapidly changing, The Uses of Enchantment: Art & Environmentalism brings together artists who are registering their experience in ways that intrigue, caution and entrance. The exhibition takes its title from the classic work by Austrian psychologist and scholar Bruno Bettelheim, who posited that fairy tales provide for children an imaginative space to process their deepest fears and dread: the death of a parent, abandonment, etc. Borrowing this paradigm, exhibition curator Sarah Milroy explores how contemporary artists use the strategy of enchantment to explore our contemporary experience of climate change, species and habitat loss, and environmental degradation.

Uses of Enchantment will include works in various mediums from artists such as Shary Boyle, Carrie Allison, Shuvinai Ashoona, Qavavau Manumie, Bill Burns, Sara Angelucci and Winnie Truong. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays on each of the artists, with a foreword written by Milroy.

Sandra Meigs (b. 1953), Spruce, Bat Lake, 2021, gouache on paper,15” X 11.25”, © Sandra Meigs

Sandra Meigs: Sublime Rage
May 20 – November 19, 2023

Over the course of the various pandemic lockdowns, leading contemporary Canadian artist Sandra Meigs (b. 1953) retreated from her home in Dundas, Ontario to the woods of Algonquin Park and Lake Calabogie. Compelled by this time in nature, Meigs created a series of vibrant and penetrating gouache studies that recall the legacies of such notable women modernists as Emily Carr and Georgia O’Keeffe. Many of these reflect the artist’s concerns regarding climate change and species loss. Sublime Rage will showcase this body of work and include several of Meigs’ electrifying paintings enlarged and printed on canvas banners suspended from the ceiling, creating a forest of fierce, painterly gestures and vibrant colour. This exhibition is guest curated by Jessica Bradley.

Tom Thomson (1877–1917), Purple Hill, 1916, oil on wood panel, 21.6 x 26.7 cm, Gift of Mrs. H.P. de Pencier, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1966.2.4

Tom Thomson: North Star
June 24, 2023 – January 14, 2024

Tom Thomson (1877–1917) is indisputably Canada’s preeminent modern painter, and his catalytic achievement changed the face of Canadian painting forever. North Star will offer a close look at his legacy, focussing on the small en plein air oil paintings, also known as “oil sketches”, of which he is the supreme master. An account fit for the 21st century, the exhibition and accompanying publication will isolate particular moments of Thomson’s artistic experimentation and incorporate assessments of his work by leading contemporary artists and writers, exploring Thomson’s evolving public persona as the quintessential outdoors man, and considering his oeuvre within the framework of the international art of his time. This exhibition is curated by McMichael Executive Director Ian A.C. Dejardin and Chief Curator Sarah Milroy.

Ann MacIntosh Duff, Starry Night, c. 2000, watercolour on paper, 22 x 30 in., Photo courtesy: Nicholas Metivier Gallery

Ann MacIntosh Duff
July 8 – October 2023

For over 70 years, Ann MacIntosh Duff (1925–2022) painted the landscapes and everyday moments of her life. Her most expressive works are those painted from her cottage on Georgian Bay, which record the atmospheric weather on the shore – misty mornings, blazing hot afternoons, and clear midnight skies. The McMichael is delighted to have acquired 200 works by Duff in 2022, the most significant institutional collection of her work. This exhibition, which includes a carefully curated selection of these works, represents a small survey of Duff’s career.

Franklin Carmichael (1890 – 1945), Cobalt Mine Shaft, 1930, watercolour over conté crayon on paper, 28.5 x 33.8 cm, Gift of Mrs. R.G. Mastin,1990.5

Cobalt: A Mining Town and the Canadian Imagination
Nov 18, 2023 – April 2024 (TBD)

This exhibition showcases the work of artists who visited and documented the town of Cobalt, Ontario’s silver mines during the interwar period and includes pieces by Franklin Carmichael, Lawren and Bess Harris, Yvonne McKague Housser, Isabel McLaughlin, Frederick Banting, A.Y. Jackson, and early visiting artists, such as John Wesley Cotton and Lady K. S. Robertson. Cobalt will be accompanied by a publication authored by noted Canadian art scholar Dr. Catharine Mastin, bringing together the fruits of extensive new research on a dynamic transitional moment in Canada’s history, seen through the eyes of artists who recognized a compelling new subject for visual art. The publication will include complete illustrations of all works in the exhibition. Cobalt: A Ming Town and the Canadian Imagination is curated by Dr. Catharine Mastin.

Ongoing Exhibtions

Tom Thomson (1877–1917), Early Spring in Cauchon Lake, 1916, oil on wood panel, 21.2 x 26.7 cm, Anonymous Donor, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1972.4

Conversations: Masterworks from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Through April 2024

Conversations is a selection from the Gallery’s permanent collection of more than 7,000 works of art that aims to convey something of its current breadth. This carefully crafted exhibition, curated by McMichael Executive Director Ian A.C. Dejardin, takes joy in placing apparently disparate works in creative conversation with one another. Featuring works by Kenojuak Ashevak, Rebecca Belmore, Edward Burtynsky, Franklin Carmichael, Emily Carr, Kim Dorland, Sorel Etrog, Paterson Ewen, Lawren Harris, Prudence Heward, Gershon Iskowitz, A.Y. Jackson, Cornelius Krieghoff, Jean Paul Lemieux, Arthur Lismer, An Te Liu, Zachari Logan, Helen McNicoll, David Ruben Piqtoukun, David Milne, Michael Snow, Tom Thomson and others.

The exhibition rewards repeat visitors with an unfolding rotation of gems hand-selected from the McMichael’s vaults, further extending the inter-generational conversations between art and artists of different eras and styles.

Dempsey Bob (b. 1948), Wolf Headdress, c. 1988-1989, alder, acrylic paint, fur, operculum shell, 40.6 x 20.3 cm, Private Collection, Photo: Rachel Topham Photography

The Art of Dempsey Bob
Through April 16, 2023

Wolves: The Art of Dempsey Bob offers a personal encounter with the work of the leading carver of British Columbia’s Northwest Coast, and an immersive experience of the Tahltan and

Tlingit mainland cultures. This first-ever retrospective surveys Dempsey Bob’s (b. 1948) development from his early days as a student of legendary female carver Freda Diesing through to his late career masterworks, which advance the traditions of carving in the 21st century.
Equal parts traditionalist and vanguard artist, Bob acknowledges the lineage to which he is indebted, yet he refuses nostalgia. Instead, he boldly reinterprets the traditional characters and iconography from the age-old stories of his people, at times inflecting those traditional tales with influences drawn from world art. Bob’s work urges a re-examination of humankind’s place in the natural world that is both timely and urgently needed.

Wolves: The Art of Dempsey Bob is a co-production of the Audain Art Museum and McMichael Canadian Art Collection. It is co-curated by McMichael Chief Curator Sarah Milroy and Dr. Curtis Collins, Director and Chief Curator of the Audain Art Museum in Whistler, British Columbia.

Storm, 2020, mixed media on marbled paper, 76.2 × 61 cm, James McKellar, Photo courtesy of Patel Brown, L2022.77, © Rajni Perera

Rajni Perera: Futures
Through May 7, 2023

Rajni Perera (b. 1985) is one of Canada’s most promising contemporary multimedia artists. Experimenting with mediums as varied as painting, sculpture and photography, the Toronto- based artist expresses her vision of imagined futures in which mutated subjects exist in dystopian realms. Drawing deeply on the artistic traditions of her birthplace, Sri Lanka, as well as Indian miniature painting, medieval armour, and science fiction, Perera has created a body of work that spans feminist and diasporic themes, while contemplating survival in an environmentally degraded future. Underscored by current global affairs and accelerated climate change, Perera’s vision is as timely as it is compelling.

Futures is curated by McMichael Chief Curator Sarah Milroy and includes works from all phases of the artist’s career, including new pieces made specifically for Perera’s McMichael exhibition.

Meryl McMaster (b. 1988), Between the Start of Things and the End of Things I-III, 2019, Digital C-Prints, Gift of the artist, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Bulger Gallery and Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain

Meryl McMaster: Bloodline
Through May 28, 2023

The McMichael and Remai Modern are proud to present a survey exhibition of remarkable Canadian artist Meryl McMaster (b. 1988), whose large-scale photographic works reflect her mixed Plains Cree/Métis, Dutch and British ancestry. This exhibition looks back to McMaster’s past accomplishments and brings us up to date on her current explorations of family histories, particularly those of her Plains Cree female forebears from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in present day Saskatchewan.

Meryl McMaster: Bloodline is co-curated by McMichael Chief Curator Sarah Milroy and Tarah Hogue, Curator of Indigenous Art at Remai Modern. It is co-organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and Remai Modern. Bloodline is a Core Exhibition of the 2023 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

William Kurelek (1927–1977), Jewish Doctor’s Family Celebrating Passover in Halifax, 1975, mixed media on board, 44.5 × 61 cm, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Photo: Michael Cullen, Dunnville, Ontario, © Estate of William Kurelek, courtesy of the Wynick / Tuck Gallery, Toronto

William Kurelek: Jewish Life in Canada
Through July 3, 2023

William Kurelek (1927–1977) is a beloved figure in Canadian art, a revered Ukrainian Canadian painter whose works express his deeply felt immigrant experience and his compassionate vision of humanity. His suite of paintings titled Jewish Life in Canada was made to honour his friendship with the Toronto art dealer Avrom Isaacs, who offered the artist a framing job at his gallery before discovering his employee’s remarkable creative gifts. Kurelek intended Jewish Life in Canada as a gesture across the cultural divide, implicitly demonstrating his open- mindedness toward Canadians of cultural and religious backgrounds different from his own.

To obtain high-resolution images or request an interview, please contact Sam Cheung, Media Relations and Communications Coordinator at or 905.893.1121 ext. 2210.

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The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. It is the only major museum in the country devoted exclusively to Canadian art. In addition to touring exhibitions, the McMichael houses a permanent collection of more than 6,500 works by historic and contemporary Canadian artists, including Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, Indigenous artists and artists from many diasporic communities in Canada. The Gallery is located on 100 acres of forested land and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more information, please visit 


Sam Cheung
Media Relations and Communications Coordinator
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2210

Grace Johnstone
Director, Communications, Marketing and Sales
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
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