Varley Art Gallery wins the Exhibition of the Year Award

On November 25, the Varley Art Gallery of Markham and curator Anik Glaude won the Exhibition of the Year Award at the 42nd Annual Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) Awards in the category of Budget Under $10,000.

The award-winning exhibition, Moving through darkness into the clearing, featured contemporary artworks by Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) artist Greg Staats in contrast with traditional landscape paintings by the Group of Seven, and was on display from January 19 to April 7, 2019.

“I congratulate Curator Anik Glaude and all of the staff at the Varley Art Gallery,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “This is the second year in a row that the Gallery has won an Ontario Association of Art Galleries Award. I commend the hard work and dedication of the Varley staff who embody the City of Markham’s profound commitment to culture.”

In 2018, the Varley Art Gallery’s new logo and brand, designed by Underline Studio, received the OAAG Identity Renewal Award while the Gallery itself received the Exhibition Installation and Design Award for Xiaojing Yan: Out from among the tranquil woods.

“The Varley Art Gallery cares for a significant collection of historical Canadian artworks,” says Varley Art Gallery director Niamh O’Laoghaire. “Anik Glaude is excellent at keeping those holdings current by placing them in conversation with work by contemporary artists. The juxtaposition of apparently disparate objects by members of the Group of Seven and artist Greg Staats in Moving through darkness into the clearing generated an exciting and thought-provoking dialogue, and is highly deserving of this award.”

This award-winning exhibition investigated the ways in which artists return to the land in search of their subject matter, informing their understanding of place and identity. Alongside artist Greg Staats’ work, paintings by A. J. Casson, F. H. Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael and F. H. Varley were on display.

“I am thrilled for this project to be recognized by a jury of my peers,” says curator and award-winner Anik Glaude. “I want to thank the Varley-McKay Art Foundation for their ongoing support in the research and display of the Varley’s permanent collection, but also for funding the acquisition of one of Staat’s photographs included in the exhibition. This purchase expands our collection of contemporary art and fulfils our goal of supporting artists practicing today.”

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham offers new exhibitions, programs and events throughout the year. Current exhibitions on view until January 5, 2020, include Tout-Monde: Markham, created in partnership with Elegoa Cultural Productions, and 197 Main Street.

Photo: 42nd Annual Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) Awards presentation in Toronto on November 25, 2019

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