Looking for something to do or see this month? Scouting out a cool date idea for your Valentine? Here at The Main we’ve chosen our top picks of art exhibitions going on this February. Don’t be afraid to get out there and explore a new gallery, artist, or unique art event in the city — our February art guide’s got you covered!


 

Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism

Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, The Favourite of the Emir, c. 1879. Oil on canvas, 142.2 x 221 cm. Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art. Courtesy of the United States Naval Academy Museum.

Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, The Favourite of the Emir, c. 1879. Oil on canvas, 142.2 x 221 cm. Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art. Courtesy of the United States Naval Academy Museum.

On all month @ Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1380 Sherbrooke Street West)

This exhibition centers around an incredible collection of the works of 19th century Toulousian painter Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant. His large scale paintings, which were popular among the aristocracy, feature stereotyped representations of the “exotic” inspired by Moorish Spain and sharifian Morocco during the Belle Époque. As the first exhibition of Orientalism in Canada, the show is also unique in its inclusion of works from three contemporary female Moroccan artists, who engage with notions of Orientalism and add a thought-provoking aspect. Tickets and information can be found on their website.

 

David Spriggs — PRISM

Image courtesy of Arsenal Montreal.

On all month @ Arsenal Montreal (2020 rue William)

The title of Spriggs’ show refers both to the optical apparatuses of his large-scale works and a US National Security Agency program. Using hand-drawn shapes on acetate sheets, the artist creates monumental pieces that relate to ideas of surveillance and power. Do not miss seeing these works in person in the tremendous, warehouse-like space of Arsenal. More information can be found on their website.

 

Last Year’s Fears

TAVA, Humanities Class ’98, 2014. Image courtesy of Galerie ABYSS.

TAVA, Humanities Class ’98, 2014. Image courtesy of Galerie ABYSS.

On until February 28 @ Galerie ABYSS (1520 Notre Dame West)

This exhibition space and tattoo studio presents a new group show curated by Jono Doiron. Artists were asked to paint a personal fear that they wish to overcome. I’m sure we can all relate to setting goals and resolutions in the New Year which face such barriers; this is the idea behind Last Year’s Fears. The show includes 19 awesome artists with backgrounds in illustration, fine art, mural art, tattooing and graphic design. RSVP to the event here.

 

Allan Sekula & Noël Burch — The Forgotten Space

Jose Ramon Velazquez, Truck drivers, Los Angeles. Image from the film, Allan Sekula & Noël Burch, The Forgotten Space, 2010. 112 minutes. Photo: Courtesy of Icarus Films.

Jose Ramon Velazquez, Truck drivers, Los Angeles. Image from the film, Allan Sekula & Noël Burch, The Forgotten Space, 2010. 112 minutes. Photo: Courtesy of Icarus Films.

On all month @ Musée d’art contemporain (185 Saint Catherine West)

This film, which won the Special Orizzonti Jury Prize at the 2010 Venice Film Festival, is part of the MAC’s Projection Series. It follows the container ship, one of the most important means of maritime transportation since its creation in the 1950s, from port to port, revealing the story of a process that we often forget when purchasing consumer goods. More information and screening times can be found here.

 

The Market Cooperative Arts Fair

February 10 @ SSMU Ballroom (3480 McTavish Street)

Although not an exhibition, McGill’s Market Cooperative features local artists and artisans selling their handmade work for one day only. Their Fall edition was a hit and this month’s perfectly occurs right before Valentine’s Day, giving you a chance to find a unique gift. It takes place from 11am — 6pm in the SSMU building on McGill’s campus. RSVP to the event here.

 


What February art event are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below!