Varley Art Gallery readies for diverse exhibitions

Despite another busy summer, Markham’s own Fred Varley Gallery is showing no signs of slowing down for the fall. The Gallery, which sits at the northwest corner of Unionville Main Street and Carlton, has more new exhibitions and installations for art lovers to enjoy.

“Our priorities are always to mount the best exhibitions we can,” says gallery director Niamh O’Laoghaire. “There is always something to see and do.”

The gallery actually goes out of its way to build its schedule around content, rather than the time of year. Curator Anik Glaude organizes the year’s schedule as a series of exhibitions based on a theme. This way return visitors don’t just have something new to see, they also get the part of a year-long exploration.

“Because 2017 is the Varley’s twentieth anniversary,” continues O’Laoghaire, “one of our main themes is to recognize Markham’s rich artistic heritage and its continuing contributions to culture as expressed by local artists, both historic and contemporary.”

With the ongoing Past/Perfect/Continuous exhibition, the gallery has spent 2017 rotating through some of the most cherished work of the gallery’s legendary namesake, Fred Varley. This exhibition takes its name from the grammatical tense that describes something that began in the past but still continues forward, which is how they view Varley’s contribution to culture, Canada and Markham itself. This fall Varley’s work on display ranges from 1918 when he was a war artist to works completed in his studio on Unionville Main Street in 1963.

Opening this fall at the Varley is  Out From Among the Tranquil Woods by award winning artist Xiaojing Yan. Based in Markham, Yan is known for her intricate sculptural installations that explore the intersections of the natural and cultural worlds. She transforms lingzhi mushrooms, star anise, freshwater pearls and cicadae, among others, to explore traditional Chinese mythology and folklore as a reflection of her own identity as a first generation Canadian.

Finally, included in the Collections Gallery this fall is a site-specific sound installation by Richmond Hill artist Zev Farber titled Machine Fantasies/Human Events. In addition to curated audio, the installation includes works on paper and sculptural elements to explore connections between our modern technological era, tenuous memories and evocative objects.

“Our goal has always been to inspire our visitors to engage with art, be that historical or contemporary,” explains O’Laoghaire. “There is always something new to see or do.”

Thanks to the support from IBM, admission to the gallery is free. In addition to the exhibitions, there is much planned for the community this fall. From the Fall Exhibitions Opening Reception to Doors Open Markham and even PechaKucha Night Markham Vol. 16 as part of Culture Days, the gallery is making every effort to invite all to visit. The Varley will also present its first Halloween themed Art Social on Oct. 27, and on Oct. 12 the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham will host a spectacular fundraiser called Rouge: Varley Gala. This ticketed event supports future exhibitions and commissions and offers special insight into the future of the gallery.

“We hope that everyone who walks into the Gallery will walk out with an experience that has enriched their lives in a new and exciting way,” adds O’Laoghaire.


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