AGO to debut new paintings by Toronto artist Stephen Andrews as part of his largest solo exhibition to date

Exhibition of 22 large-scale paintings, major drawings and installations along with sketchbooks, ceramics and studio props to fill fourth floor of the AGO’s Contemporary Tower 

TORONTO—Opening at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on April 23, 2015, Stephen Andrews POV is the largest solo exhibition by one of Toronto’s leading contemporary artists. Trained as a photographer, Andrews (b. 1956) has been practising since the late 1970s, exploring topics as varied as AIDS, surveillance, war, memory, chaos theory and technology. Featuring works on paper, installations, photographs and 22 large-scale paintings—six of which will make their debuts at the AGO—this exhibition charts the last 15 years of Andrews’ career, payingspecial attention to his development as a painter. Visitors will also be introduced to Andrews’ world through a display of his sketchbooks, handmade ceramics and studio props. The exhibition runs to Aug. 30, 2015.

Andrews will give a free public talk on April 22, 2015, in the AGO’s Jackman Hall at 5:30 p.m. This will be followed by a free public reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in Walker Court to celebrate the opening of the exhibition.

Renowned for his drawings, collages and video work, Andrews’ decision to take up painting in the early 2000s marked a significant departure for the already successful Toronto artist. “I guess this restlessness, if you will, or promiscuity with materials is just playfulness” said Andrews. “I want to see what happens when you try something new. I’m less promiscuous with materials now that I’ve found paint.”

The exhibition opens with two early paintings, 10 1X 01 (2001) and A small part of something larger #1 (2001). Composed of numerous stamped dots, these unconventional portraits of the artists Colin Campbell and John Greyson capture the uneasy marriage between the mechanical and the manual in Andrews’ art. In The Quick and the Dead (2004), viewers are invited to consider differences between the digital and the handmade as Andrews meticulously recreates a short film clip of an anonymous American soldier in the Iraq war with nearly 120 crayon drawings.

In more recent paintings, such as Entrance / Exit (2014), Andrews begins with photos of the everyday and transforms them into stunning depictions of reflected light. Capturing familiar Toronto locations, these doorways, rail crossings and auditoriums have a dreamlike quality—the result of numerous translucent layers of paint carefully applied over pencil drawings. In the process of painting these works, Andrews builds up layers of colour over white to create a highly glossy surface in which the luminous pigment shines through.

Making their debut at the AGO, Andrews’ newest series of works, Butterfly Effect (2014-15), features those same translucent layers of paint, here reduced to minimal rectangles of CMYK colours. These paintingstake their distinctive nature from the artist’s own encounters with happenstance.

Located on the fourth floor of the AGO’s Contemporary Tower and curated by Kitty Scott, the AGO’s curator of contemporary and modern art, the exhibition features loans from public and private collections, in addition to three works from the AGO collection. “This exhibition explores Andrews’ engagement with painting, as an artist exploring the materiality of the mediated world,” says Scott. “He is one of Toronto’s most influential contemporary artists, and we are very pleased to mount his largest solo exhibition to date here at the AGO.”

A 160-page hard-cover catalogue will accompany the exhibition. Published by the AGO and edited by Kitty Scott, Stephen Andrews POV features an interview with the artist by Glenn Ligon, commentary from artists Jacob Yerex, Paul P., Shelagh Keeley, April Hickox, Chris Curreri, Pierre Dorion and Cheryl Sourkes in addition to essays by Scott, Alexander Nagel, Sholem Krishtalka, and a chronology by Kari Cwynar. The catalogue will be available for sale in shopAGO for $40.

The exhibition is included with the price of general admission and is free to AGO members. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

Stephen Andrews was born in 1956 in Sarnia, Ont. He has exhibited his work in Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Scotland, France, India and Japan. He is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada; the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver; and the Schwartz Collection, Boston, as well as numerous other public and private collections. He is represented in Canada by Paul Petro Contemporary Art in Toronto.

Stephen Andrews POV is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Generously supported by:
Salah Bachir & Jacob Yerex
Cecily & Robert Bradshaw

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

Feb. 7 – May 10, 2015: Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time

June 20 – Sept. 20, 2015: Picturing the Americas

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For hi-res images and other press inquiries, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403, [email protected]

Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364, [email protected]


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