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Current Exhibitions


AGH Members receive Free Admission to all exhibitions.

1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group
On view February 20 to May 8, 2016


click image to enlarge

They were bold and experimental and at the forefront of modern painting in Canada in the 1920s. And they were not the Group of Seven.

The painters associated with Montreal’s Beaver Hall Group (so named for the location where they shared studio and exhibition space) were among Canada’s most avant-garde artists of their day and yet until now their contribution as an association has yet to be fully researched and presented.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has righted the situation and organized the first major exhibition to shed new light on this pivotal association of artists. In essence, the Beaver Hall Group was to Montreal what the Group of Seven was to Toronto. But rather than offering an image of Canada’s identity through the depiction of untamed landscapes, they showed their attachment to the portrait and to humanized cityscapes and landscapes.

The exhibition levels the art historical playing field. In locating the activities of this Montreal group in a national context, we are given a broader view of the artistic landscape in Quebec, Ontario and indeed Canada. This is particularly important as the Beaver Hall Group has always, in part, been characterized by its female membership. As the first association of its kind in Canada to bring together professional women artists, it provided both a community and public forum for their activities and the development of their practices, another sign of the Group’s progressive, modern nature.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see newly discovered paintings as well as masterworks by such modern greats as Edwin Holgate, Anne Savage, Sarah Robertson, Prudence Heward, and A.Y. Jackson. Many are a revelation.

The exhibition is curated by Jacques Des Rochers, Curator of Quebec and Canadian Art (before 1945) at the MMFA, and Brian Foss, Director, School for Studies in Art and Culture, Carleton University, Ottawa.

Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts



The Beaver Hall Group: 1920s Modernism in Montreal

Exhibition Catalogue available at the
Shop at AGH

Lecture Series: The Legacy of the Beaver Hall Group

  • 'As Well As Men': Gender and the Beaver Hall Group
    Thursday, April 28, 7:00 p.m.



Fearful Symmetry: The Art of John Scott
On view February 6 to May 15, 2016
Organized by Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College, Iowa. Curated by Daniel Strong.


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Fearful Symmetry: The Art of John Scott will include 28 works on paper in a vast installation in the AGH’s largest rooms reserved for contemporary art exhibitions.
Born and raised in Windsor, a child of the North American working class and of the 1960s, activism has never subsided in John Scott’s work. His imagination has been fed by science fiction, the Space Age and Motor City manufacturing might and blight. Sympathy for the worker as a human tool in the global industrial complex pervades what some have called his apocalyptic vision.

Viewers may be familiar with Scott’s consistent and eerily prescient style in his works on paper, plotting intersections of humanity and technology, religious fervor and military might, utopian visions and dystopian outcomes. His articulation of these themes through sculpture may be less familiar, and this poignant material aspect of his practice will serve to generate new readings of his four-decade-long practice.

We are thrilled to be featuring his work Trans AM Apocalypse No. 3, (1998-2000), an actual car, which the artist painted matte, incising on the surface words from the Book of Revelation that refer to the apocalypse. This work is on loan from the Art Gallery of Ontario, who are partnering with us to perform some necessary conservation to the surface of the car during the exhibition. Check back for the dates in February 2016 during which you can visit the exhibition and meet an AGO conservator to learn more about this rare and compelling project.

This is the second part in a two-part exhibition; the first was hosted by McMaster Museum in Fall 2015.

Dark Commander: The Art of John Scott

Exhibition Catalogue available at the
Shop at AGH


Free admission courtesy of Orlick Industries.

Collection Classics
On view April 9, 2016 to March 19, 2017

Collection Classics and Evolution of Form present both asked-after favourites and rarely-seen masterworks from the collection. As these two exhibitions attest, the 10,000-work strong AGH holdings are a remarkable and impressive resource for our community and region. Bringing together over one hundred objects in a variety of media and from across several centuries and countries, these presentations provide a glimpse into the strength and quality of the AGH holdings.


Saga of a City: Hamilton at 200 Years
On view April 9, 2016 to March 19, 2017
Curated by Devin Therien, Adjunct Curator, European Art and
Bill Manson, Hamilton Historian

Saga of a City commemorates the bicentennial of the founding of the city of Hamilton in 1816.

This historical exhibition traces the foundations upon which an obscure frontier hamlet in 1816 grew to become a major North American manufacturing and transportation centre by 1925. Historically, the development of the city rested solidly on the foundations of location, water, rails, immigration, and industry. However, since 1945 these traditional foundations have been shaken, and today a very different city is in the process of reinventing itself.

Indigenous Nations have lived at the western end of Lake Ontario for centuries. The proximity to water, a temperate climate, and bountiful natural resources made this location ideal. European settlers were attracted to the Head-of-the-Lake, as they called it, for the same reasons.

Early European settlers at the Head-of-the-Lake created agricultural lands and harnessed the power of the many waterfalls to create mill towns like Ancaster, Albion, and Dundas. Many entrepreneurs were active in land speculation. One such was Niagara businessman George Hamilton, who in 1815 purchased 257 acres of land upon which to found a town.

This is the saga of that town and the city that grew from it.


Evolution of Form: 150 Years of Sculpture from the Collection
On view April 23, 2016 to March 19, 2017

Collection Classics and Evolution of Form present both asked-after favourites and rarely-seen masterworks from the collection. As these two exhibitions attest, the 10,000-work strong AGH holdings are a remarkable and impressive resource for our community and region. Bringing together over one hundred objects in a variety of media and from across several centuries and countries, these presentations provide a glimpse into the strength and quality of the AGH holdings.


Staging Abstraction: Paintings from the Collection
On view April 23, 2016 to March 19, 2017
Co-curated by local painter Daniel Hutchinson and Melissa Bennett, AGH Curator of Contemporary Art

Staging Abstraction features quintessential examples of Canadian abstract painting from the 1960s to 80s, drawn from the Art Gallery of Hamilton collection, which has one of the most comprehensive holdings of this type of work. This area of the AGH collection of contemporary art comprises nearly 600 pieces, which numbers a quarter of our contemporary art holdings. It was largely built in its time when the artists were emerging, through visionary purchases made by AGH Director Glen Cumming, who also acted as contemporary curator.

Abstraction generally fell out of favour in the late 1980s and 1990s as trends in painting moved toward more figurative and representational work. We can now observe a resurgence and a return to abstraction in the studios of many painters today. This observation was the starting point for this exhibition, which arose during a casual discussion had by local painter Daniel Hutchinson and AGH Curator of Contemporary Art, Melissa Bennett after both had participated in student critiques that demonstrated this return to abstraction. Many of the students had studied the key abstract styles and techniques but lacked first hand experience with the pieces, despite the original intention of many of the artists, which is to transport viewers through an exploration of the painting’s real life surface. It’s just not the same to see a Rothko on Instagram.

The exhibition includes over twenty works, and explores the important styles and techniques of late 20th century abstraction through the works of influential artists such as K.M. Graham, Roy Kiyooka, Kenneth Lochhead, Gershon Iskowitz and Yves Gaucher.


Kim Adams: Bruegel-Bosch Bus
Permanent Installation

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.

Women's Art Association of Hamilton 120th Annual Juried Exhibition
On view April 30 to June 26, 2016

The Art Gallery of Hamilton is proud to celebrate the achievements of the Women’s Art Association of Hamilton by presenting their annual juried exhibition. As one of Hamilton’s oldest and most important art associations, WAAH shares longstanding ties with the AGH, going back to the founding of the Gallery more than 100 years ago. The strong relationship between WAAH and the AGH continues through the annual hosting of an exhibition of work by WAAH Members, carefully selected by a jury.


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Orlick Industries

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