“from Victorian archival photos and Martian landscapes inspired by science fiction and current space exploration” 


A New Exhibition by Artist-in-Resident Heather Gentleman

Dignam Gallery – 23 Prince Arthur Ave.
Women’s Art Association of Canada

Artist In Attendance: October 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
12:00pm – 4:00pm

The exhibition is also available to view online HERE

Link to Artist Talk Sunday, October 18

Interview with Winging It on youtube

Expedition of the Fantastical explores the cultural implications of exploration and colonization in the Victorian Era and postulates the impact of future colonization of Mars.

“From a settler viewpoint,” says artist Heather Gentleman, “I explore personal and political narratives, culture, beliefs and ideas about our identities. I have endeavoured to create a dialogue and a fluidity between drawings referenced from Victorian archival photos and Martian landscapes inspired by science fiction and current space exploration. With the underpinning of decolonization, my aim is to encourage the viewer to think about the implications of colonization on humanity and apply this toward consideration of when/how we look to interplanetary settlements.”

Ms. Gentleman is only the 2nd Artist in Resident at Women’s Art Association of Canada in its 133-year history. Located in a house purchased 100 years ago in the beautiful Yorkville area, WAAC has been an artist-run group connecting artmakers, and friends of the arts, as well as providing scholarships to the arts, 17 in total this year, in all these years. The beautiful house located at 23 Prince Arthur Avenue, houses 2 art galleries, Dignam Gallery, and the Ruth Upjohn Gallery, as well as a library with historical art reference books, and two floors of art studios.

We are keeping pandemic precautions during gallery visits, not allowing more than 10 people at a time and masks must be worn while visiting the gallery.

Ms. Gentleman has spent this past year working on this show, as part of her one year residency. It really is a show that should be viewed in person. For those that cannot attend in person we have her whole show online, and we encourage you to take a look.

“One day, when we travel to Mars,” continues Ms. Gentleman, “will we continue to live under the oppressive colonial constructs of the past, and indeed the present, or will we move beyond to a new way of being that is respectful, socially conscious and mutually exclusive?”

Expedition of the Fantastical was created by Heather Gentleman at Woman’s Art Association of Canada. Ms. Gentleman’s work is narrative in nature, finding inspiration in literature, anthropology, mythology, and symbolism.  She approaches her work primarily through painting and drawing, but also works in sculpture, video, writing, interactive installation, audio and performance allowing for cross pollination between genres. She chooses to layer media when it enhances the telling of the story by allowing the viewer a fuller comprehension of the layers of meaning in the work. Imbued with psychological undertones and observation of contemporary culture in a historical context, she explores how ideas, themes and social mores recur and are paralleled from one time period to another and how our understanding of the past, and the future, is shaped by our own contemporary viewpoint.

Ms. Gentleman lives and works in Toronto.  Her education includes a MFA from Chelsea College of Art in London, UK, an Honours BA in Fine Arts at the University of Guelph. Her work has won several international arts awards and has been featured in several books, magazines, design annuals and media, in local, national and international media. Her works are included in private and corporate collections in Canada, U.S., Asia, France and Great Britain. In addition to solo exhibits, she regularly participates in group shows. She ran her own gallery/studio school in the Historic Distillery District and acted as the Selection Committee Chair at Propeller Gallery in the Queen Street West Gallery District. She is currently an instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University.

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For more info, and to interview Heather Gentleman, contact:

Ingrid Hamilton – ingrid@gat.ca – 416-731-3034