Plus an exhibition devoted to “rocks and their relations” that you shouldn’t overlook.
J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free, Art Gallery of Ontario: The undisputed heavyweight champion of British romantic 19th century landscape painters — a select field, to be sure — Turner has long been regarded an exceptional master in the rendering of light on canvas. This show, imported from the Tate Britain, which owns the definitive collection, puts on view the final 15 years of his output, when his desire to innovate burned brightest. Opens Oct. 31, AGO, 317 Dundas St. W.
Rocks, Stone and Dust, University of Toronto Art Centre: An exhibition devoted to “rocks and their relations” may not immediately set your world aflame, but consider both the artist list — which includes Spring Hurlbut, Jason de Haan, Michael Belmore and conceptual forefather Lawrence Weiner — and the curator, fast-rising wunderkind John G. Hampton, before you judge. If there’s a show destined to animate the inanimate, then this, likely, is it. Opening Wednesday, 6 to 8 p.m. at UTAC, 15 King’s College Circle.
Micah Lexier, Versions: For more than a decade, Lexier has been a kind of collective glue for the Toronto art world, generously sharing his talents and platforms to give the local scene a boost (look no further than More Than Two, the T.O. magnum opus he curated at the Power Plant in 2013.) So when he opens a new show all on his lonesome, it’s an event, as it will be this week with the arrival of Versions, which merges Lexier’s love of form, games and all things orderly — with a hint of the spontaneous always lurking nearby. Opening 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Birch Contemporary, 129 Tecumseth St.
Charles Stankievech, The Soniferous Aether of the Land Beyond the Land Beyond: Stankievech, until recently a trans-Atlantic artist stationed in both Berlin and Dawson City, Yukon (he transplanted here to teach at the University of Toronto last year), has a unique genre rooted in both the esthetic of and deep suspicion for military intelligence in far-flung corners of the globe. He produced a knockout of a show on just that last year, and while you can’t see that, you can see this gorgeous, haunting film work. It offers more than a taste: Stankievech spent weeks at a remote military installation near the Arctic Circle, filming the elements of survival and isolation certain people endure in the name of national security. Believe what you will, but you’ll be chilled to the bone. Until Nov. 21 at Prefix ICA, 401 Richmond St.
Lectures and last chances
Liz Magor: Artist’s talk at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 5:40 to 6:30 p.m., Oct. 28; John Scott in conversation with Ann MacDonald at the McMaster Museum of Art, 6 to 8 p.m., Oct. 28; last day of Sobey finalist Abbas Akhavan: Variations on a Garden, Mercer Union, Oct. 31; last day of the exhibition Murray Favro: Lever and Wheel at the McLaren Art Centre, Barrie, Sunday, Nov. 1.
Source: Toronto Star