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Current Exhibitions



AGH Members receive Free Admission to all exhibitions.

Illuminations: Italian Baroque Masterworks in Canadian Collections
On view February 28 to May 31, 2015
Co-curated by Dr. Benedict Leca, former Director, Curatorial Affairs, Art Gallery of Hamilton and Dr. Devin Therien, AGH Guest Curator


Italian Baroque Art is most often associated with dynamic movement, overwhelmingly-rich colors and compositions, and the creation of new pictorial subjects. The style known as Baroque (c. 1590-1715) was centered in Rome, Naples, and Bologna and subsequently spread to other international cities, including Madrid, Paris, London, and Amsterdam.

Illuminations is the first comprehensive exhibition examining the breadth of Italian Baroque painting in Canadian public collections. Building on the Tanenbaum gift of European art to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the exhibition explores how light and shadow were central to the creation of dynamic and theatrical pictures. The selected paintings are examined by investigating the artists’ chiaroscuro – the pictorial effects created by light and shade. In contrasting Mattia Preti’s and Jusepe Ribera’s deeply shaded pictures with Luca Giordano’s and Nicolas Poussin’s luminous works, the exhibition reveals how light was strategically used to signify demeanour, emotion or religious symbolism.

Through a comparison of religious, mythological, and popular imagery, Illuminations simultaneously explores how Baroque audiences were confronted with paintings that broke with tradition by manipulating the conventional use of light. In addition to painting monumental religious imagery, artists also depicted large and theatrically-lit gambling scenes and street concerts. Such paintings emphasize the conflicting aspects of seventeenth-century life, including those between the secular and religious, public and private, and decorous and profane.

Featuring many of Canada’s foremost Baroque pictures, the exhibition examines a culture – similar to our own – that was captivated by theatrical display.


This project is generously funded by the Canadian Government through
the Department of Canadian Heritage Museum's Assistance Program

Exhibition Content

MUSIC - The music playing in the Joe Ng Gallery is a Baroque piece composed in the 1680s by Arcangelo Correli: Concerti Grossi #1-6 performed by the Brandenburg Ensemble.


Illuminations: Italian Baroque Masterworks in Canadian Collections catalogue available at the Shop at AGH.

Illuminations: chefs-d’œuvre du baroque italien dans les collections canadiennes

VIDEO - Exhibition Co-Curator Devin Therien talks about
The Massacre of the Children of Niobe by Luca Giordano
in this AGH original video

VIDEO - Curator Devin Therien describes the painting
St. Paul the Hermit
by Mattia Preti

in this AGH original video


Robert Burley:
The Disappearance of Darkness
On view February 28 to May 24, 2015
Curated Dr. Gaëlle Morel, Exhibitions Curator, Ryerson Image Centre


Since 2005, Canadian photographer Robert Burley has documented the demise of film-manufacturing facilities and industrial darkrooms around the world. This exhibition and accompanying publication speak to a historical moment of no return, or what the artist calls “the dizzying moment in photography’s history in which technological changes redefined the medium forever.”

Robert Burley: The Disappearance of Darkness addresses the abrupt breakdown of a century-old industry, which embodies the medium’s material culture. Burley’s large-format colour prints visually record the major economic impact caused by the shift from analogue photography to digital technology. His investigation began when he was granted access to the Kodak Canada plant in Toronto. Following 18 months photographing the desertion, decommissioning and demolition of the facility, he turned to document the international disappearance of manufacturers Agfa-Gevaert, Ilford and Polaroid.

Burley’s project presents the industrial architecture of these facilities with an emphasis on the unique character of the buildings, specifically designed to fabricate products in darkness. As an artist working in photography for the past 30 years, Burley has been both an observer and a participant in this radical transition. As such, his work strikes a subtle balance between the commemoration of the demise of now obsolete materials – film-based photography – and the celebration of cutting-edge visual technology.



One-Eyed-Rabbit: Jonathan Plante
On view February 21 to May 24, 2015
Young Gallery
Organized by VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine


One-Eyed-Rabbit is different. He has only one eye and would like to jump into his rabbit hole without chipping his teeth… He meets a worm that has no eyes but can navigate through holes in the ground! Together they will discover the power of imagination and the inner workings of sight: a little with the eyes, a lot with the brain, always with the heart.

In a playful atmosphere and through the story of a friendly rabbit, Montreal artist Jonathan Plante invites young people ages 4 to 10 (and kids of all ages!) to (re)discover the mysteries of visual perception in a variety of ways. The exhibition includes an animated video, original paintings, a giant didactic book, and mirror anamorphoses that will stimulate the imagination of little ones and grownups alike. These unexpected and interactive aesthetic experiences notably address abstraction, art history and optical illusions. Through the various works, viewers are invited to discover the mechanisms of vision and the role it plays in the arts, while developing the imagination.

One-Eyed-Rabbit is designed and produced by VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine. Jonathan Plante (b. 1976) lives and works in Montreal.


Free admission courtesy of Orlick Industries.


Art for a Century: 100 for the 100th
Curated by Dr. Benedict Leca, Tobi Bruce and Melissa Bennett


click image to enlarge

While the AGH Centennial celebrates the people, spaces and activities that have made the Gallery one of the most dynamic independent art museums in Canada, we should never lose sight of its prized permanent collection, which we hold in trust for the people of Hamilton. As the foundational treasure that propels our enterprise as a museum, the collection ranks among the finest in Canada.

What began 100 years ago with the donation of 29 paintings in memory of Hamilton-born artist, William Blair Bruce, now numbers 10,000 works. While other ‘encyclopedic’ museums present a broader range of objects, the specificity and depth of the AGH collection in three core areas—Canadian historical, Canadian and global contemporary, and European art—are its strength.

Art for a Century: 100 for the 100th, which gathers selected masterpieces from the permanent collection chosen by Dr. Benedict Leca, Director, Curatorial Affairs, Tobi Bruce, Senior Curator of Canadian Historical Art and Melissa Bennett, Curator of Contemporary Art, exemplifies the sustained level of quality of the three collections. From late 19th-century landscapes to masterworks from the Group of Seven, from Baroque masterpieces of Dutch and Italian art to important French 19th-century academic painting, from a full offering of contemporary art of the last decades to a rich selection of African material, the AGH collection covers these significant domains with distinction.

The works presented in this exhibition are arranged to suggest occasional formal or thematic resonances. The display occupying the entire second floor is an invitation to our Members and visitors to wander, discover, and contemplate anew the treasures that will continue to enlighten for the next 100 years and beyond.

Corporate Members:

L.V. Celli Professional Corporation

Kim Adams: Bruegel-Bosch Bus
Permanent Installation

click image to enlarge

Repeatedly in his work, Canadian artist Kim Adams has explored the patterns of a mobile society, creating works of art that are eccentric hybrids of the readymade. Blending humour, satire and seriousness, he builds “worlds” as a means of social critique. Adams’ installations exist comfortably in the space that divides life and art. His works have been presented in two very different social worlds: in a densely social environment such as a park or street and in a museum setting like the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Neither setting is privileged.

A magnificent visual masterpiece, Bruegel-Bosch Bus consists of a 1960 Volkswagen that appears to pull a post-industrial universe displaying a cornucopia of fantastic and seductive worlds that play with our senses. It was produced over a 7-year span. This futuristic diorama is a permanent fixture in the AGH Sculpture Atrium overlooking the Irving Zucker Sculpture Garden, past Hamilton City Hall and the Niagara Escarpment. Reminiscent of a previous installation by Adams titled Earth Wagons that presented a micro-model North American society fixed on leisure and entertainment, the Breugel-Bosch Bus encapsulates the next whole world picture, a world in which reality and unreality, logic and fantasy, banality and sublimation of existence, form an inexplicable unity. This ‘bus’ is a Kubrickesque megalopolis made of icons symptomatic in present society and draws upon urban fantasies, phantasmagoric, post-apocalyptic landscapes, and a plethora of different times and cultures. Buildings from different epochs are aligned side by side and space becomes an imaginary territory where chaos prevails.


The Jean and Ross Fischer Gallery
Free admission courtesy of Orlick Industries.

SAGE: Follow Your Art IX
Scholastics, Art, Global Education Program at Strathcona School
On view May 23 to June 21 2015

See artwork created by students from senior kindergarten through grade five from the SAGE (scholastics, art, global education) program at Strathcona School.


Free admission to
courtesy of:

Orlick Industries

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